Need – Based Alternate Land use System And Its Advantages
1. Among the several needs of a farmer Food always remains the first priority item, although fodder requirement is more as compared to food. Some of the need – based alternate land use systems matching the land. Capability classes are discussed below Alternate land use systems.
Food (Arable Land)
Fuel / Timber / Fiber
Horti – pastoral silvi
Tree farming Timber
Agro – horticulture
Silvi – pastoral
Intercropping with NFTs
2. Ley Farming: a rotation of arable crops requiring annual cultivation and artificial pasture occupying field for two years or longer.
3. A rotation is a cropping system in which two or more crops are grown in a fixed sequence. If the rotation includes a period of pasture (a lay) which is used for grazing and conservation the system is sometimes called "Alternate husbandry" or mixed farming. The term Ley – farming denotes a system where a farm or a group of fields is cropped entirely with leys which are reseeded at regular intervals some people described any cropping system which includes leys as "Lay Farming".
Types of Ley Farming:
1. Unregulated ley systems :
These are characterized by natural fallow vegetation of various grass species a certain amount of bust growth on the pasture, community grazing and lack of pasture management all of which make such systems often more short term fallow systems.
2. Regulated ley system:
Individual grazing fencing pasture management and rotational use of the grassland are the usuall characteristics of regulated ley system.
Advantages of Ley Farming:
1. It helps in soil conservation, improvement in structure and fertility. It acts as a self fertility regentrating system especially with respect to nitrogen.
2. With lay farming system the other important requirement I the farmer i.e. fodder for his cattle in addition to his food is easily met.
3. For rained farming it is a low risk system as they need not invest on the costly fertilizer input for the food grain crops but by the pasture legume.
4. Labour economy during the years under ley is yet another advantage. Some of the weeds which will be vigorous during the arable cropping years would be suppressed and eliminated and as such the weeding requirements of the crop would be reduced.
5. No tillage during the ley years would have other advantages like no compaction due to farm machinery more of earthworm and soil microbial activity. It will also have the other benefits like better soil sanitation less hibernation of pests and diseases of the crop plants.
Example of ley farming:
If a farmer has say 4 hectares land in which he want to grow sorghum and caston then he can plan four year rotation as follows.