The cropping patterns used on a farm and their
interaction with farm resources, other farm enterprises,
and available technology which determine their make up.
The yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of
crops and fallow on a given area.
Cropping system comprises all components required for
the production of a particular crop and the interrelationships
between them and environment. In the cropping systems,
sometimes a number of crops are grown together or they are
grown separately at short intervals in the same field.
Choose crops that complement each other
Choose crops and a cropping rotation which utilize
available resources efficiently
Choose crops and a cropping that maintain and enhance
Choose crops which have a diversity of growth cycle
Choose a diverse species of crops
Keep the soil covered
Strategically plan and modify the cropping system as
Maintain and enhance soil fertility
Enhance crop growth
Minimize spread of disease
Inhibit insect and pest growth
Increase soil cover
Reduce risk for crop failure
Use resources more efficiently
efficient utilization of all resources viz. land, water, and solar
radiation maintaining stability in production and obtaining
higher net returns.
The efficiency is measured by the quantity of produce
obtained per unit resource in a unit time
Depending on the resources and technology available,
different types of cropping systems are adopted on farms, which
are as below
Sole cropping (monoculture)
This is where the field is used to grow only one crop season after
Also known as solid planting
it is difficult to maintain cover on the soil
it encourages pests, diseases and weeds
it can reduce the soil fertility and damage the soil structure.
Growing number of crops on the same piece of land during
the given period of time.
Cropping systems has to be evolved based on climate, soil and
water availability for efficient use of available natural resources.
The increase in population has put pressure on land to increase
productivity per unit area, unit time and for unit resource used.
Number of crops cultivated in a piece of land per annum is
In Punjab and Tamil Nadu, the cropping intensity is more
than 100% (i.e. around 140-150%). In Rajasthan, the cropping
intensity is less.
Growing two or more crops on the same field in a year.
Annual and perennial plants can be organized in fields together.
It is a form of polyculture
tomatoes + onions + marigold; the marigolds repel some tomato pests.
Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same field.
There is intercrop competition during all or part of crop growth.
It is further sub-divided as
(a) Mixed intercropping:
(b) Row intercropping:
(c) Strip intercropping:
(d) Relay intercropping:
Growing two or more crops
simultaneously with no distinct
row arrangement. Also referred to
as mixed cropping.
Growing two or more crops
simultaneously in strips wide enough to
permit independent cultivation but
narrow enough for the crops to interact
Alternating 15-inch rows of radish and oats.
Growing two or more crops simultaneously where one or
more crops are planted in rows. Often simply referred to as
Growing two or more crops simultaneously during the
part of the life cycle of each. A second crop is planted after the
first crop has reached its reproductive stage of growth, but, before
it is ready for harvest. Often simply referred to as relay cropping.
FAVORITE COMBINATIONS FOR INTERCROPPING
VEGETABLE SUGGESTED LOCATION
under pole beans or trellised cucumbers
BASIL between tomatoes
BUSH BEANS between tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant
between brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
cabbage, cauliflower), onions, leeks, or zucchini
CARROTS between bush beans, leeks, or tomatoes
CILANTRO between leeks
under corn, pole beans, or tomatoes; between
celery, celeriac, leeks, or brassicas
between cabbage plants (or any other member of
the brassica family)
PARSLEY between tomatoes
everywhere (they’re said to help repel pests when
planted with cucumbers or squash)
under pole beans or trellised cucumbers and
between leeks, turnips, and brassicas
WINTER SQUASH under corn
Better use of growth resources including light, nutrients and water
Suppression of weeds
Yield stability; even if one crop fails due to unforeseen situations,
another crop will yield and gives income
Successful intercropping gives higher equivalent yields (yield of
base crop + yield of intercrop), higher cropping intensity
Reduced pest and disease incidences
Improvement of soil health and agro-eco system
Growing two or more crops in sequence on the same field in a
farming year. The succeeding crop is planted after the preceding crop
has been harvested.
Crop intensification is only in time dimension.
There is no intercrop competition.
(a) Double, triple and quadruple cropping: Growing two, three
and four crops, respectively, on the same land in a year in sequence.
Quadruple cropping: Tomato: ridge gourd: Amaranthus greens: baby corn
Triple cropping: garlic and shallots are drying off and will soon be ready to lift, a
succession of broad beans and peas are scheduled to be harvested before August and
the early potatoes will all be gone by mid July.
Fennel resprouts from the stump! Cut
the main bulb high, and then harvest
baby sprouts a few weeks later.
first cabbage, broccoli head, or whatever,
which leaves behind plenty of
opportunities for latent basal buds to
mobilize and start growing.
(b) Ratoon cropping:
The cultivation of crop
re-growth after harvest, although
not necessarily for grain.
Ex.Fennel:ratoon; Broccoli: ratoon
Crops with tap roots should be followed by crops with a fibrous root system as
this helps in the proper and uniform use of nutrients from the soil. In addition, roots
do not compete with each other for the uptake of nutrients
Legumes should be grown after non legumes as they fix atmospheric nitrogen
into the soil and add more organic matter to the soil
Exhaustive crops (crops which need more inputs like more fertilizer, irrigation,
insecticide etc.) should be followed by less exhaustive crops, which require less care
(i.e., Potato should be followed by leguminous crops)
Selection of crop should be demand-based (that is, crops needed by the market
should be chosen as it can be sold at a higher price)
Crop selection also depends on land type, irrigation facilities, soil and climatic
considerations. Financial constraints of the farmer should also be kept in mind.
changing the type of crops grown in the field each season or
each year (or changing from crops to fallow).
In crop rotation, different types of plants are alternated through the same bed over
time. There are different types of crop rotation, such as:
rotation by plant type:
legume (peas and beans) fruiting vegetable (eg, capsicum) leafy
green vegetable (eg. lettuce, cabbage) finally, root crop (eg. potato)
rotation by plant family:
set up eight beds with these plant families:
Brassicaceae (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, radish, ,
turnip, mustard greens)
Solanaceae (tomato, capsicum, potato, eggplant)
Fabacace (broad bean, bean, peas)
Cucurbitaceae (cucumber, squash, pumpkin, watermelon, rockmelon)
Apiaceae (carrot, celery, coriander, dill, parsley)
Chenopodiaceae (silver beet, beetroot, spinach)
Asteraceae (lettuce, globe artichoke, jerusalem artichoke, )
Alliceae(onion, shallot, leek).
Crop rotation Types
Any cropping pattern, if followed correctly, will have several
advantages. These advantages are:
Agricultural operations can be done on time, for all the crops
because of less competition,
Soil fertility is restored by fixing atmospheric nitrogen,
encouraging microbial activity.
Weeds, disease and insects can often be more easily managed
Proper utilization of all resources and inputs is made as the farmer,
his labour, power, equipment and machines are well employed
throughout the year
Growing crops of different nature ensures best utilization of
residual moisture, fertility and organic residues.
It also improves percolation, soil structure and reduces chances of
creation of hard pan in sub-soil zone.