What is Multiple Cropping?

In this article, we are going to learn and gain information about the concept of Multiple cropping. Not only will we study what it is, but we will gain knowledge about the types, advantages/ disadvantages, the reasons why people do this and much more. There are various types of these systems which we will read about later on. It is quite an in-depth but interesting topic. Technology has advanced to such an extent that there are various types of systems evolving every day. 

Before we get more in-depth, we first need to know “what is multiple cropping?” These multiple cropping systems are commonly used in the Global South. This includes regions such as Latin America, Africa, Asia, etc. It is a common practice to use this in these regions, especially on small farms where they grow to harvest subsistence for families with inadequate resources.


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This is one of the oldest forms of agriculture that is still widely and commonly used. It involves the farming of two or more species of plants on the same piece of land. It is done where the growth cycles of the unlike species intersect for a small part of their duration. 

A simple form of multiple cropping is sequential cropping which is when the second crop is planted and grown after the first has been harvested. This type of agriculture may grow as intercrops where the growth and yield are limited and restricted to a certain growing season. There are many benefits of multiple cropping. 

Many times, people get confused between mixed and multiple cropping. Mixed cropping is when two or more crops are cultivated together on the same land without any fixed ratio. In this, they are mixed and then grown, but intercropping is a multiple cropping technique in which the crops are cultivated nearby. They are cultivated on a piece of land in the same year, and it requires less irrigation, traditional seeds, machinery, tools, and equipment. This is how we can differentiate between mixed and multiple cropping.

There are many examples of such a type of cropping. One such example of multiple cropping is tomatoes and onions. Another example of multiple cropping can be marigold cultivation which is carried out together. The marigold helps to repel the pests in tomatoes. Another example is that of the American three crop plants, which are beans, maize, and cucurbits which are pumpkins and squash. Another example is the cultivation of wheat, gram, and mustard in Northern India. There are so many other examples of multiple cropping because this is a method that is still widely used across the world. 

Now we know what multiple cropping is, now let us learn about types of multiple cropping.


What are the Different Types of Multiple Cropping?

There are many types of multiple cropping. The different types are:

  • Sequential cropping is when the crops are cultivated one after the other, and there is no overlapping phase. 

  • Monocropping is the constant growth of the same type on the same land over a sequence of seasons.

  • There are different types of multiple cropping which every student must know about. When two or more types grow on the same land, it is called Multi cropping. A part of the growth cycles of the different species overlaps. 

  • Intercropping is when two or more crops are cultivated together on the same land in the same season. 

  • Relay cropping is when one type of plant is interplanted with the second before the first reaches maturity. 

There are many other types of multiple cropping.


What are the Pros and Cons of the Process of Multiple Cropping?

The advantages of multiple cropping are:

  • It reduces the risk of loss from pests, droughts, and diseases. It helps in maintaining the fertility of the soil using nitrogen fixation. 

  • It is greatly beneficial to farmers that have small plots and limited farming land because they can have full production within the limited area that they own. They can grow different products at one time, which also helps in reducing their costs of outputs. It will be higher if the crops are grown separately. 

The disadvantages of multiple cropping are:

  • The survival of pests becomes easy. If they can't survive on one, they can survive on the other, growing with it. pests can move from one crop to the other very easily, so that is why 

  • It is difficult to implement new technology on this because it uses the old traditional techniques and methods. 

With these disadvantages of multiple cropping, many people do not prefer this method. 

In this article, we have covered a great part of the things like what is multiple cropping and everything to know about multiple cropping. We studied the benefits of multiple cropping, looked at a few examples, and learned much more. 


Fun Facts

  • Did you know that 12% of the global land that is used to grow crops are used to grow two or more crops in a sequence

  • 34% of rice, 13% of wheat, and 10% of maize are cultivated under multiple cropping. 

  • There is a minute difference between mixed cropping and multiple cropping, which many people tend to forget or mix up. 

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Mention a few multiple cropping advantages. 

Ans: Among the various multiple cropping advantages, few substantial ones are:

  • It increases the yield and production of the crop in a limited land as multiple types are growing together. Higher crop production means higher exports, thus increased incomes. 

  • Also, this method would reduce the overall cost as well as the hard work of input for farmers as they would not be cultivating the crops separately. Doing them all at once would save time, material as well as money.  

Despite having quite a few disadvantages of multiple cropping, the multiple cropping advantages outweigh the drawbacks. The advantages hold more weight because not only do they benefit the farmers, they also benefit the people consuming the yield. For example, lower costs for farmers mean that lower costs of food and grains. 

2. Explain the reason for multiple cropping.

Ans: The primary reason of multiple cropping:

  • Farmers can produce more using multi-cropping because they would be using more than 1 type of crop and growing them all together. This would increase the crop yield, diversity as well as income for the farmers. 

  • Another reason for multi-cropping is that it increases productivity. With limited resources, one can produce more using improved agricultural systems, extra and spare raw materials, and reduced fertilisers and pesticides. Some crops naturally repel or keep pests and other harmful things away so that way this can be reduced. 

An example of multi-cropping where this would be the case is tomatoes, onions, and marigold cultivation together. Here the marigold repels the pests, so this reduces the need for pesticides because that job is being done by the marigold. 

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