Cropping Systems and Rotation
The diversity in the tribal farmers’ fields has been enhanced by the practice of multiple cropping and mixed cropping in both space and time. The rotation of crops helps in maintaining the soil health and meeting their multiple needs. Based on the amount of rainfall, soil types and farmers' preferences, different cropping systems and cropping rotation are followed, ragi based mixed cropping system is extensively practised with or without rotation, depending upon the rainfall, normally semmotchai (Panicum vulgaris) or coriander can be raised after the mixed cropping system.
The continuous cultivation of tapioca in the same field results in absorption of nutrients from the same soil depth leading to fall in yield in subsequent years. This effect has been experienced by the tribal farmers and so, to combat this effect, they have started to follow crop rotation with minor millets and upland paddy in the middle geomorphic units (terraced fields).
Traditional Mixed Cropping Systems
Mixed cropping is defined as the growing of two or more crops simultaneously intermingled with each other without definite row pattern. This system is a traditional method of multiple cropping and the cropping intensity is often more than 100 per cent. The main objective of this system is to meet the food requirements of the family. The system involves the combination of crops with different food values, maturity periods, input requirements and capacity to withstand natural calamities and also results in minimising risk and thereby help in stabilising the food supply.
This unique practice is complemented by the use of crop varieties having wider genetic base. This wider genetic base is acting as a risk averting mechanism in this undesirable environmental condition. Based on their experience, the whole system is designed in such a way that it acts as an insurance agent against biotic and abiotic stresses. It also satisfies the diverse needs of the farmer and efficiently utilises the space and time to a greater extent. It effectively protects the soils from run-off and moisture from evaporation by covering the soil throughout the crop period.
Common Crop Rotation Practices
Welcome to our new blog. We've teamed up with our colleague in India, Thangavelu Vasantha Kumaran, to publish updates on his humanitarian work in southern India. Updates will first be published in our newsletter, followed by more detailed updates here on our blog, for those who want to learn a little bit more!