Syatem Approach- Crop Mixtures or Mixed Cropping
It is the process of growing two or more crops together in the same piece of land simultaneously. The cereals are usually mixed with legumes viz. Jowar or Bajara mixed with Tur, udid, Mung, matki or kulthi. Wheat is mixed with peas, gram or mustard; Cotton is grown mixed with Tur or sunflower.
The objectives are:
1) To get handy installments of cash returns especially in irrigated crops,
2) To achieve better distribution of labour throughout the year,
3) To utilize available space & nutrients to maximum extent possible,
4) To safe guard against hazards of weather, diseases & pests,
5) To secure daily requirements like pulses, oilseeds, fibers, etc.
6) To get balanced cattle feed.
In order to obtain the maximum benefit from the subsidiary crop mixed with the main crop, it should have the following characteristics: It should
i) Not abstract the growth of the main crop,
ii) Mature earlier or later than of the main crop,
iii) Preferably be a legume,
iv) Have diff. growth habits & nutrient requirements,
v) Have diff. rooting depths & ramification and
vi) Not be very exacting in climatic requirements.
Mixed cropping may be:
1) Mixed crops: Mixing of seeds and raising two – three crops at the same time & in same field. E.g.: Jowar/wheat +mustard/ gram.
2) Companion Crops: Different crops are sown in different rows. E.g.: 6 to 8 rows of cotton + 2 to 3 lines of Tur, 4 – 6 rows of Jowar + 1 – 2 lines of Tur, Jowar + Mung/Urd, Jowar + Safflower.
i) Guard crops: Growing hardy or thorny crops (Mesta/Safflower) around the main crop (Jowar/Wheat)
ii) Augmenting crops: Growing sub-groups (augmenting) to maintain the yield of main crop. F. Jowar/Bajara + Cowpea.