Types of Cropping System



Cropping System

The type and sequence of crops grown and the practices used to grow them refer to a cropping system. It covers all cropping sequences practiced over space and time based on the available crop production technologies. Cropping systems have been traditionally structured to maximize crop yields.

Cropping Pattern

Cropping pattern means the proportion of area under various crops at a point of time in a unit area. It also indicates the yearly sequence and spatial arrangements of crops and follows in an area. In simple terms it is the pattern of crops for a given piece of land.

Rainfall is the main & the most variable source of water for dryland crops. Rainfall variability plays a dominant role in influencing crop growth and yield and also in crop planning. Cropping patterns in a region are usually planned on the basis of prevailing rainfall behavior.

Cropping patternCropping system
Crop rotation practiced by a majority of farmers in a given area or locality. Cropping pattern and its management to derive benefits from a given resource base under specific environmental conditions. 
Type and management of crops in time and space.The cropping patterns used on a farm and their interaction with farm resources, other farm enterprises and available technology which determine their make-up. 
Yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops or crops and fallow on a given area.The proportion of area under various crops at a point of time in a unit area.Pattern of crops taken up for a given piece of land, or order in which crops are cultivated on a piece of land over a fixed period, associated with soil management practices such as tillage manuring and irrigation.
Difference between Cropping Pattern & Cropping System

Classification/Types of cropping systems

  1. Monoculture
  2. Multiple cropping
  3. Following or Fallow in rotation

Cropping systems for dryland and irrigated areas

  • Monoculture/Monocropping– The cropping system in which only one major crop is grown on the same land year after year or Repetitive growing of only one crop on the same piece of land year after year. e.g Rice-Rice, Bajra-Bajra
  • Fallowing or fallow in rotation– In scarcity areas (dry farming) where rainfall is very low only two crops are taken in three years as against one crop every year is called as fallowing or fallow in rotation.  A fallow year or season is one in which the field is not cultivated with any crop but left without a crop. The field may be left undisturbed in a ploughed condition or kept clean by frequent fallowing. This practice is useful for conservation of soil moisture and maintaining fertility of the soil. In the irrigated areas sometimes one season is kept fallow for maintaining fertility of the soil and minimizing the damage to the soil due to continuous use of irrigation and cropping.
  • Multiple cropping– The cropping system in which two or more crops are grown either in succession or sequence or association for the entire or part period of their life cycles on the same field in a year is called multiple cropping. E.g. Sorghum, Wheat, Green Gram, Maize, Rice, Black gram, Linseed
  1. Parallel multiple cropping– When two or more crops are grown in association for part or entire period of their life cycle is known as parallel multiple cropping. It includes following cropping systems.
  • Mixed cropping- Growing two or more crops simultaneously with no distinct row arrangement is known as mixed cropping. Mixed cropping is common practice in rainfed or dry farming areas. Generally, legumes crops like red gram, black gram, green gram, cowpea etc. or oilseed crops like groundnut, mustard etc. are mixed with cereal crops like jowar or bajra. Sowing is done by drilling the mixture of seed with the help of seed drill or moghan can be attached behind the seed drill for sowing of mixed crop. Usually, cereals are grown as the main crop and pulses or oilseeds as minor or mixed crops. E.g. Maize + Green gram + Pigeon pea, Sorghum + Groundnut + Pigeon pea
  • Relay cropping:- It is the cropping system in which succeeding crop (next crop) is or sown or planted when the first crop (preceding crop) has reached its physiological maturity stage or before it is ready to harvest is called as relay cropping. E.g. Rice/Linseed/lentil/black gram/chickpea.
  • Alley cropping- The system of growing jowar, maize, bajra or any other arable crop in the alleys (passage between two rows) of leguminous shrubs like subabul (Leucaena leucacephala) is called alley cropping.
  • Multi-storeyed cropping:- In this system the crops of different height and vertical layers of leaf canopies, sunlight requirements and root system are grown together on the same field is called multi-storeyed cropping. Generally, the shorter crops favouring shade and humidity are grown in passage between the rows of taller crops, which are tolerant to strong sunlight. E.g. Growing pineapple, sweet potato, black pepper, tapioca, turmeric, ginger etc. in coconut or arecanut.
  1. Sequential multiple cropping– It is the multiple cropping system in which two or more crops are grown in sequence on the same piece of land in a year or over a fixed period.
  • Sequence cropping:- In this cropping system two or more crops are grown in sequence one after another on the same piece of land in a year.
  • Double cropping:- It is a multiple cropping system in which two crops are grown in sequence on the same piece of land in a year. e.g. Black gram-Jowar, Black gram-Wheat, Rice-Gram, Groundnut-Wheat etc.
  • Triple cropping:- It is the multiple cropping system in which three crops are grown in sequence on the same land in a year. E.g. G.nut-Wheat-Okra, Rice-Wheat-G.nut, Jowar-Potato-Green gram, Soybean-Wheat-G.nut etc.
  • Quadruple cropping:- It is the multiple cropping system in which four crops are grown in a sequence on the same land in a year.
  • Ratoon cropping or Ratooning– The cultivation of crop regrow after harvest is known as ratoon cropping. Ratooning is one of the important systems of intensive cropping, which implies more than one harvest from one sowing/planting because of regrowth from the basal buds on the stem after harvest of first crop.Thus ratooning consists of allowing the stubbles of the original crop to strike again or to produce the tillers after harvesting and to raise another crop. E.g. Ratooning of Sugarcane, Hybrid Jowar, Hybrid Bajra, and Red Gram etc.

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