Difference Between Mixed Cropping and Intercropping

Harvesting can be defined as the practice of growing two or more crops in close proximity, which means that the crops are grown on the same land, and at the same time in different rows reducing the risk of crop failure.

Difference Between Mixed Cropping and Intercropping

What is Mixed Cropping?

Mixed cropping, also known as polycropping, is similar to intercropping and involves growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same plot. This type of cropping system can improve soil fertility and increase crop yields. Material and waste from one crop helps another crop grow and vice versa.

This method of crop production is insurance against crop failure in abnormal weather conditions. This improved crop growth and farmers’ economies and avoided the crop failures that occurred in India and Asian countries.

The farmer plants one row of one crop, then another and so both crops can grow well. For example, if the crop in one row is a legume and the other is a staple crop, the staple crop takes nitrogen from the soil and the legumes put the nitrogen back into the soil. This helps farmers grow more crops without losing nitrogen from the soil.

The nature of multiple cropping can be described in terms of the number of crops produced per year and the strength of crop interactions. Double or triple cropping refers to a system in which two or three crops are planted simultaneously without overlapping in the growing cycle.

It is not crop rotation where different crops are planted in the same area in different years. Crop rotation can reduce soil fertility because some plants can add nitrogen to the soil, while others can remove it.

Examples of mixed crops are the American trirop: beans, corn, and cucumber (banana and squash). They are also known as the Three Sisters. These crops were domesticated at different times, however, later combined to form an important part of Native American agriculture and diet Mixed cropping systems were historically documented by the Iroquois and Seneca tribes of the Americas, beginning around 1000 BC.

Difference Between Mixed Cropping and Intercropping

Intercropping Mixed Cropping
The main objective is to utilise the space left between the rows of the main crop The main objective here is to get at least one crop in a favourable condition
Specific planting patterns followed No planting pattern followed
Different fertilizers and pesticides are used for different crops Same fertilizers and pesticides used for all the crops
Seeds aren’t mixed before sowing Seeds are mixed before sowing
Followed to increase the productivity of crops Followed to reduce the risk of crop failures due to unfavourable climatic conditions
There is a considerable difference in the life cycle and the duration of maturity in different crops All crops have a similar life cycle and duration of maturity

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