Mixed farming: Economical uses and advantages

mixed farming

Introduction

The agricultural system is divided into several categories according to demand, supply, market, and production. Mixed farming is one of them. Farmers do crop productions and livestock farming together on the same land in the hope of making more profit. This is a contrasting method of single cultivation, where the same crop is planted in several hectares of land. Mixed farming and its economical uses are described in detail below.

According to the geographical point of view, in all the regions of the world where mixed farming has developed, farming can be done all year round due to extreme cold in winter or other climatic constraints. As a result, in order to produce as much food as possible in favorable weather conditions, it is necessary to open up the land for economic activities such as mixed crop production and livestock farming (1) & (5).

What is mixed farming?

Mixed farming is a type of commercial agriculture concerned with the production of both mixed crops and livestock farming in one farm. This farming method combines a dual economy. In this agricultural method, grains are produced on the same land as well as animal products. As a result, the agricultural land is used in the proper way. That is why the soil fertility of the region where this agricultural system is developed is much higher than in other regions (4).

Distribution

The mixed farming areas of the world are

  • Eurasia region

In Eurasia, this agricultural process extends from 40° to 60° north latitude, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. These farming methods predominate in northwestern Europe between Finland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France, and south Ukraine. However, in some parts of eastern Siberia, this agriculture is not prevalent.

  • USA

In the middle east of this country, this type of farming method is prevalent in the wheat and maize belt and sometimes in the hay-dairy belt. The places in the United States where mixed farming is practiced are Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma.

  • Other regions

Elsewhere in the world, this type of agricultural method has developed in Paraguay, Central Mexico, Northern Uruguay, Argentina, Southeast Australia, etc. (1) & (6).

Interesting features

1. A mixture of the ancient and modern agricultural system

This type of farming system combines primitive subsistence agriculture and commercial farming.

2. Land

In a mixed farming method, the area of agricultural land is not as small as subsistence agriculture and not as large as commercial agriculture. The area of this land in the United States is between 80 to 10 hectares. Land size in north-western Europe is small, usually from 20 to 60 hectares.

According to the density of population, mixed agricultural lands of different sizes are formed in different regions. Although the amount of land allotted from crop production and livestock farming varies from one region to another, the allotment of land for crop production is more than the land allotted for livestock farming.

3. Crop rotation

The crop rotation method occupies a special place in mixed farming. This method is used to cultivate different crops at different times of the year on the same land. According to Alexander and Gibson (in 1979), there are four types of crop rotation in this farming.

  • Cultivation of food items like corn, potatoes, turnips, etc. for humans and animals.
  • Production of different types of grasses for animals such as clover, alfalfa, timothy, etc. These grasses increase the supply of nitrogen to the soil.
  • Use of land as pasture.
  • And cultivation of market-oriented cash crops such as wheat, rye, etc.

4. Use of old and modern instruments

In such agricultural systems, the use of old instruments such as plow, spade, harrow, sickle and modern instruments like a tractor, harvester, etc. can be noticed. The use of small and old instruments is more prevalent in Eurasia regions. And the use of tractors, harvesters is more common in the United States, Ukraine, and Russia.

5. Crop production

This type of farming method is a mixture of subsistence and commercial production. So some of the grain produced is for the farmer’s own needs, some for animal feed, and the rest is sold in the market.

The crops that are produced for humans are corn, wheat, soybean, beetroots, peas, cabbage, etc. On the other hand, the crops for animal feed are alfalfa, maize, oats, etc. Wheat is the main crop grown in Eurasia and the United States.

6. Excessive use of organic fertilizers

Due to the availability of livestock farming, there is an advantage to using a lot of organic fertilizers in this farming method. Land fertility is increased by producing organic fertilizers from animal wastes.

7. Lots of money investment

In this farming system, different types of seeds, fertilizers, various instruments, and livestock farming have to be arranged at the same time. So a lot of money has to be invested in this agricultural method.

8. Market

The quantity of crops sold in the market varies from one region to another. The number of crops produced in Argentina, The United States, and Western Europe is generally higher. In comparison, Russia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Hungary, etc. produced fewer crops.

9. Improved transportation system

Improved transport systems are behind the development of a mixed agricultural system. For this reason, improved services can be observed in the areas where this farming method has been developed (2) & (3).

Economical uses

1. Increase soil fertility of agricultural land

One of the uses of this farming method is to make the land fertile by applying crop rotation methods. In the crop rotation method, some crops are selected for cultivation that maintains the fertility of the land. For example, if peas are cultivated in the land after paddy cultivation, the amount of nitrogen in the soil increases.

2. Regular supply of food

With this farming, nutritious food is available regularly. Mixed crops and livestock farming are done on the same land. So adequate food supply is always maintained.

3. Development of other industry

Here crop production and livestock farming are done on the same farm. So in this farming method, different types of industries are developed such as the fur industry, dairy industry, etc.

4. Improving the value of life

In this case, the combination of the dual economy occurs. As a result, the value of the life of the farmers is improved.

5. Earning lots of foreign currency

Farmers earn a lot of foreign currency by selling various cash crops and animal products abroad.

6. More profitable

Different types of crops are cultivated on the land. So the amount of profit from this farming method is much higher.

7. Low production cost

In this type of farming, the cultivated land does not have to be recreated repeatedly. And the infrastructure required for cultivation is also adequate, so the cost of production is much lower.

8. Provides food

Food is provided to both humans and animals through this farming method.

9. Increase production

Due to the intensive cultivation on the same land, the amount of total crop production from that land increases a lot.

10. Less probability of financial lose

If crop production is affected due to natural digesters, the farmer can compensate by producing other crops. From this point of view, the possibility of loss to the farmers is reduced in this farming method (2) & (6).

Advantage

1. Financial stability of farmers

At the same time, different types of crops and livestock farming are complete here. So farmers do not suffer financially when the price of a particular crop decreases in the market. Because farmers can keep their financial position stable by selling animal products throughout the year. This is the primary advantage of mixed farming.

2. Demand for workers

There are job opportunities throughout the year as there is mixed crop production and livestock farming. So the demand for workers is adequate and farmers are never unemployed.

3. Proper use of land

Crop rotation is a major method of mixed farming. In this case, crops are always cultivated on the same land. And animal products are produced along with crop production. So in the mixed farming method land is used properly.

4. Agriculture land fertility

Crop rotation, application of various modern instruments, and proper use of fertilizers in the land maintain the fertility of the agricultural land.

5. Complementary agricultural system

In this farming method, crop cultivation and livestock farming are done on one farm. As a result, various wastes of crops are used for animal feed as well as animal wastes are used as fertilizers in farming.

6. The land is always free from weeds as it is cultivated repeatedly in the same land. Because certain crops are not cultivated uniformly in the land, the infestation of pests in the land is less (5) & (6).

Disadvantage

1. Limited geographical environment

Mixed farming requires a geographical environment where different types of crops are cultivated as well as different types of livestock farming are reared. But such areas are limited to the world.

2. Lack of experienced agricultural workers

This agricultural system needs experienced workers to cultivate a variety of crops, to have a correct idea about the seeds of different crops, and livestock farming. Experienced workers are not always available in the world.

3. Essential transportation system

Without improved transportation, this farming method could not extend. Therefore, the mixed farming is limited to developed countries only.

4. Market problems

It is necessary to have a market near the agricultural field to sell the produced crops. Otherwise, it is not possible to sell the crop or get a profitable price.

5. Lots of money required

To fulfill the purpose of this agriculture a lot of money for different types of seeds, fertilizers, big land, lots of farmers, etc. which is not possible without the presence of sufficient economy.

6. Demand for products

The production of goods in this agricultural system is different. But the demand for all products is not always there (5).

Q&A

1. Where are mixed crop and livestock farming common?

Mixed farming is an agricultural system where mixed crop and livestock farming are common.

2. Where does mixed livestock and crop farming predominantly occur?

Mixed livestock and crop farming predominantly occur between the Mediterranean region and the northern dairy belt, where mixed farming has developed. The environment in these areas is suitable for agriculture.

3. What is a mixed farming

Mixed farming is a system of agriculture in which mixed crops and livestock farming are raised on the same farm in a favorable natural and cultural environment.

4. What are mixed crop and livestock farming?

Mixed crop

In mixed farming, different types of crops are grown on the same farm. All these crops are known as mixed crops. There are mainly three types of mixed crops cultivated in the mixed farming method. These are-

  • As animal food

Crops are grown in mixed farming systems as animal foods are alpha-alpha grass, hay grass, timothy grass, clover, etc.

  • As human food

The crops grown for human food in this agricultural system are wheat, maize, soybeans, turnips, potatoes, peas, vegetables, etc.

  • As commercial crops

Wheat, rye, soybean, etc. are cultivated as commercial crops.

Livestock farming

Livestock farming is a part of a mixed farming system. In this case, besides producing crops on the same agricultural land, different domesticated animals are reared. All these cattle are reared for the collection of various products like meat, eggs, milk, various dairy products, wool, etc.

5. Where is mixed crop and livestock farming practiced?

The mixed crop and livestock farming are practiced in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Texas, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France region where the mixed farming method has developed.

Written By: Manisha Bharati

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