Agricultural Science for J. S. S 2
FARMING AND COPPING SYSTEMS
- Farming System
Farming system has to do with the organizing of the general farming venture, including the farmer, his farm, the type of crops he grows, the type of animals he keeps as well as the techniques he adopts in his farming operations.
Types of Farming Systems
The different farming systems practised in Nigeria are discussed below:
- Mixed Farming : this is the farming System in which the farmer grows crops and rears animals at the same time on the same piece of land.
Advantages of Mixed Farming
- Farm produce such as crop residues and fodder are used for feeding farm animals
- Animal droppings serve as manure to the soil, improving its fertility
- In case of crop failure, the farmer can easily fall back on the livestock as alternative means of income
- Some large animals like cattle may be employed in the farm work for drawing ploughs
- Any part of the farmer not capable of supporting crops can be used for animal rearing ; hence all parts of the farmland are more effectively used
- The farmer may choose from his livestock during ceremonies thereby saving the money that would have been used to buy meat from the market.
Disadvantages of Mixed Farming
- The crops or animals may suffer some neglect due the farmer’s divided attention.
- Knowledge in both growing of crops and animal husbandry is necessary in this farming system
- The animals may turn destructive, eating up the crops, if not properly managed.
- Bush Fallowing: this is similar to shifting cultivation only modified. In this system of farming, the land is cultivated for some years until the nutrient is exhausted then the land is left to grow bush and replenish lost nutrients. This period during which the land is allowed to rest is referred to as the *fallow period, and it may last between two to four years.
Advantages of Bush Fallowing
- It is a simple, cheap and effective method of restoring soil fertility.
- It helps to control build-up of harmful insect pests and diseases
- It helps to check erosion
- It is natural and does not involve large cash investment
- The decayed leaves form humus which help to improve soil structure
Disadvantages of Bush Fallowing
- It can only be practised where there is abundant land
- Clearing of bush by burning after fallow period leads to loss of organic matter and some economic trees
- It wastes land
- Bush clearing is laborious
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