Multi Layer Farming: Which crop groups are best for Multi-Layer Farming?
Multi-layered farming is more prevalent among small, marginal, and progressive farmers doing advanced farming themselves.
Multilayer farming is also called multi-crop or multi-level farming, or multilayer farming. It is an integrated farming system based on gross use of water, fertilizers, and soil and getting maximum yield per unit. In this, the yield of 4-5 crops can be achieved in a year from the same field with the necessary fertilizers and irrigation for one crop. This is why multi-layered farming provides higher productivity per unit of land and higher economic returns at a lower cost.
Multilayered farming techniques have also been recognized as a means of sustainable development for small and marginal farmers, as they lead to higher profits and better food and nutritional security. This method of farming improves the productivity and utilization of all the essential factors of agriculture, i.e., water, land, fertilizers, air, and solar radiation. In this, we have to bear the wrath of weeds less.
Features of Multi Layer Farming
Multilayered farming is more popular among small, marginal, and progressive farmers who practice advanced farming, i.e., which are not dependent on farm laborers. It has been found very useful for fruit-vegetable horticulture crops and plantation-based crops. This farming system is highly successful and sustainable, especially for coconut, areca nut, coffee, ginger, leafy vegetables, and cashew crops.
In normal or traditional farming, the complete dependence of the farmers is usually on the weather cycle. That’s why the cultivation of seasonal crops is the most popular. But seasonal farming is also heavily affected by seasonal fluctuations and disasters. Often farmers have to face the problem of not getting remunerative prices in the market due to damage to standing crops or excessive production. Multilayer farming proves to be very helpful in facing such challenges because, in this farming, it is easy to grow crops according to the demand of the market.
Crops Suitable for Layered Farming
Agricultural experts have found the following crop groups highly suitable for layered farming:
- Coconut + Coffee + Black Pepper
- Coconut + Banana + Coffee
- Mango + Guava + Cowpea
- Coconut + Jackfruit + Coffee + Papaya + Pineapple
- Arhar + Groundnut + Sesame
- Arhar + rice (upland) + Black Gram
- Sugarcane + Mustard + Potato
- Okra + Radish + Cluster Bean + Beetroot
- Spinach + Radish + Onion
- Gourd + Yam + Cucumber + Cauliflower
- Maize + Moong + Groundnut
Basic Principle of Multi Layer Farming
- Diversification of crops according to scientific, ecological and economic principles
- Getting more profit by maximizing the productivity of the system
- Using farm resources with high efficiency
- Use of intensive investment method for maximum profit
- Long-term sustainability of agricultural resources and the environment
Multiple Benefits of Multi Layer Farming
- Effective use of essential farming resources like soil, water, fertilizers, labour.
- Reducing climate based damages.
- Enhancing soil health and fertility.
- Saving water through efficient use of irrigation by reducing the loss of soil moisture due to evaporation.
- To get more income per unit area of the farm.
- Generating good income and employment throughout the year by growing several off-season crops.
- Getting maximum productivity out of labor.
- Protecting soil nutrients from being washed away in heavy and heavy rains and effective prevention of disasters like soil erosion and landslides.
- To ensure optimum utilization of soil moisture found at different depths.
- Increases organic matter in the soil crop by crop.
- Effective control of weeds.
- To obtain a partial guarantee against glut in the market of a single commodity.
- To reduce the incidence of pests and diseases on the crop.
- To develop such micro-climatic conditions which would ensure better productivity of successive crops.
Steps Required for Multi Layer Farming
Crop and Field Selection: The crops to be selected for this cultivation should be of different height and maturity period. For this, square or rectangular fields with fertile soil are considered good. FYM (Farmyard manure) compost should be mixed in the field at the time of plowing and the process of composting should always be adopted. A good seed bed should be prepared during plowing in the field.
Sowing and Irrigation: Only high quality pure, viable and high yielding seeds should be selected for the crops. Seed treatment should be done to keep it free from seed borne and soil borne diseases. Special care should be taken of irrigation in multilayer farming. There should be neither more nor less water in it. For this, average irrigation is the best.
Manures and Fertilizers: Before using fertilizers and manures, it should be kept in mind that the crops planted in multilayer farming have different nutrient requirements. Therefore, ‘basal dose’ is more preferred. Basal dose refers to all types of primary fertilizers applied in the soil. Its friendly bacteria and friendly fungi are also included in the manure. In addition to Farm Made Compost (FYM) as manure, there should be a balanced use of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash.
Weeding and Disease Management: In multi-layer farming, manual weeding and sickling method proves to be very useful. Weedicide can also be used for this. Appropriate insecticides are used to combat pests and diseases.
Harvesting and Packaging: Once the crop is ready, its beneficial parts must be stored safely in such a way that it can fetch a good price in the market. According to the type of packaging suitable for different crops, the produce should be prepared and sent to the market.
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