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Understand Mixed cropping, Model for 1 acre land, investment, profit, Examples and Advantages

Mixed farming is a modern method of farming to overcome the insecurity of low-income and decreasing soil fertility for small farmers. 

Mixed cropping is highly profitable and one of the best farming methods of modern time, especially for poor farmers. 

Mixed cropping is totally different from primitive subsistence agriculture.

Mixed cropping and project report 

Mixed cropping is a kind of cropping pattern, in which multiple seasonal and yearly crops cultivate at the same time on the same land in different portions.

These multiple crops work on a complementary principle of mutual exchange of required elements. In mixed cropping selection of crops very important.

What is mixed cropping

It means, in mixed cropping nearby cultivation of crops depends on their need. Suppose one crop is highly Nitrogen consuming, then a low Nitrogen required crop will cultivate its beside. 

The required elements can be Nitrogen, moisture, sunlight, Sulfur, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, etc.

Following are some reasons that why mixed cropping is necessary to switch traditional agriculture- 

  • Non-regular income from seasonal and yearly crops is too low which is not satisfying. Sometimes, small farmers become a victim of negative net profit
  • The natural fertility of the soil is low of overusing chemical fertilizers and lab-originated injections. 
  • No backup of wealth, in case of natural disaster or very low yield. 
  • The quality of production(yield) is not satisfying as demand. The reason behind this is the use of non-organic materials and mismanagement. 

Examples of Mixed cropping

Following are some examples of mixed crops that have mutual sharing and exchange of required elements to grow-
  • Wheat and mustard
  • Groundnut and sunflower
  • Maize and Urad
  • Wheat and Gram
  • Barley and Chickpea
Above crops can grow together at same place nearby each other. 

Advantages/Importance of Mixed cropping

  • Mixed cropping is free from various arrangements like integrated farming systems. 
  • It is a low investment, highly profitable method of cropping pattern which is applicable for every financially weaker person. 
  • It provides a variety of corps to cultivation.
  • Mixed cropping is helpful to increase the natural fertility of the soil which is not good enough currently.
  • It is free from every kind of laboratory-made fertilizers and pesticide. Crops don't get disease in mixed cropping. 
  • There is a mutual exchange of required elements to grow without any fighting between plants.
  • The mixed farming model can sustain as long as you want.
  • There is no worry about high-quality seeds for cultivation because it provides the best opportunity from the field to get high-quality seeds. 

Mixed cropping model for 1-acre land

How does Mixed cropping system work?

The system of mixed cropping is based on a specific cropping pattern. This pattern allows for the cultivation of multiple seasonal and yearly crops at the same time.

Complementary crop

This crop cultivates as a backup of seasonal or yearly crops. This complements another crop as financial backup,  mutual exchange of elements, and don't fight for elements. A complementary crop can be a small period crop with seasonal crops or a seasonal crop with yearly crops. 

Way of working

These complementary crops provide backup to sustain till the next seasonal or yearly crop gets ready. Complementary crops harvest in the meantime of seasonal or yearly crops.  

In mixed cropping of the seasonal and small period crop, if there are small chances of quality production of the seasonal crop then there already have a backup as a small period crop. A farmer can sustain on this backup till the next cultivation. 

There is no extra use of pesticides and compost every because the dry waste of trees and crops works like this. A spray of waste decomposer encourages microorganisms to have their feed as a dry waste of cultivation and they convert it into compost. This system is helpful if it uses near your crops. 

Thus your cultivation will get naturally made high-quality compost and harm-free growth. 

Various sections of mixed cropping

The following diagram is a model of one-acre agricultural land, which is divided into 3 sections- 

Mixed cropping model

#Note- Only healthy seeds give you a high-quality yield. The best way to get them is to keep them in tight sunlight and later soak them in water. Separate floating seeds and then use them. 

Buffer Zone(Section-A)/boundary

This section is the boundary of the model. It holds multiple works like protection from wild animals, provides green fodder for animals, and yearly fruits farming.

This section is 1/5th portion of 1-acre land and covers the land as a boundary. This boundary cover by hedges. Lemongrass and Guana grass are the main crops in this section. These crops are at a fixed distance from each other. 

Seasonal and yearly crops combination section-B

This section is 2/5th portion of land which is for mixed cropping of seasonal and yearly crops. This 2/5th portion of land is divided into 5 to 8 belt sections. The middle section of every belt is for seasonal crop and its both edges are for yearly crops.

Yearly crops contain bananas, guava, mango, sugarcane, etc. and seasonal crops are like potatoes, garlic, turmeric, radish, etc.

Every seasonal crop on mid-portion of the belt section is surrounded by a yearly crop of both sides on a belt.  

Seasonal crops and small period crop section-C

This section is 2/5th of the total land portion of 1-acre. All kind of complementary seasonal and small period crops covers this area. 

The same type of seasonal crop cultivates in different portions with another complementary crop. 

Seasonal crops like grains and non-food crops cultivate with vegetables like spinach, cucumber, brinjal, carrot, etc., and fruit vines like grapes, watermelon, melon, etc.  

Investment in 1-acre land Mixed cropping 

For 1-acre land, the following are the main subjects to invest-

One time investment-

  • Land cost- 500000 INR
  • Labor cost- 20000 INR
  • Seed cost- 5000 INR

Total- 525000 INR

If already have parental land then -

Total- 25000 INR

Per cycle investment-

After the first cycle, it is automatic to get seeds from harvesting, so seeds cost is not included here. 

  • Labor cost- 5000/month
  • Maintenance- 5000 INR/cycle

Total- 80000/year

Total investment from next year depends on the number of cycles of harvesting.

Profit in 1 acre from Mixed cropping

  • Small period crops- 80000 to 100000 INR/year
  • Seasonal crops- 80000 to 120000 INR/year
  • Yearly crops- 100000 to 200000 INR/year

Total- 260000 INR to 420000 INR/year

Net profit- 160000 INR to 320000 INR/year

Precautions in Mixed cropping

  • Don't let water collected in the hedges of the buffer zone.
  • Don't use chemical fertilizers with soil directly.
  • Never sow opposite nature crops that fight for living elements.
  • Clean all spontaneous plants from time to time.
  • Built a narrow-wide path before cultivation in the agricultural land.

Conclusion

Which way is better? To produce the same crop on one-acre land(for suppose) and get average income(sometimes below average) or cultivation of multiple profitable crops on one-acre land to get extra benefit from the combination of seasonal and yearly crops at the same time.

Mixed cropping is the demand of time. In countries like India, where small farmers don't get enough profit from seasonal crops, they have huge burdens of loans and less net income. 

They don't have any choice just to repeat the same thing yearly. Every year, their hard work loses to return loans and debt. 

Mixed cropping is still not so popular in India, with people unaware of it. 

The government needs to encourage farmers to practice mixed farming on a grass-root level. Surely, they failed in it but there is hope for it because there are 85% of farmers are small farmers.

Mixed farming has huge scope in India in the upcoming future but all depends on its advertisement and convince people for it. The next step will be proper scientific and practical information on mixed farming.

It is not easy to switch from traditional farming to mixed cropping but in case of no chance, it is the last option.

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