10 Disadvantages of Mixed Farming

10 disadvantages of mixed farming
Washington Post

Let’s be a little bit practical today.

You are a farmer in East Texas. You have a large farm. On it, you grow maize, beans, and cucurbits. On the same farm, you practice beekeeping and shrimp farming. You also have a large industrial chicken production factory.

Oh, and not to forget, you have 25 fat pigs, 60 sows, and a hundred piglets!

Sounds amazing and completely profitable, doesn’t it? But shocker – I’ll list and explain the disadvantages of mixed farming.

Why? You wonder… I suppose that since you are reading this blog, you are likely interested in mixed farming. You have likely caught a big vision about it just like the farm I illustrated above. Or even bigger.

I want you to be aware of them and prepare for them. Simple. A man that understands his dream more is more likely to survive.

Before diving into the depths, I want to clarify these three concepts: mixed farming, integrated farming, and mixed cropping. Mixed farming should not be confused with Mixed cropping.

Mixed cropping is the cultivation of two or more types of crops on the same land in different seasons. Integrated farming involves a more intentional and systematic approach to combining different elements of the farm into a cohesive whole.

An integrated farm might have the same agricultural activities that mixed farming has but the different components of the farm are designed to work together in a way that maximizes resource use efficiency, reduces waste and environmental impacts, and increases overall productivity.

For example, animal manure might be used as fertilizer for crops, while crops can provide feed for livestock, and trees can provide shade and habitat for animals.

For the definition of mixed farming, scroll.

What is Mixed Farming?

Mixed farming (MF) is very much popular in Asia, especially in India. It is combining two or more independent agricultural activities on the same farm. with each component of the farm operating somewhat independently of the others.

A typical case of mixed farming is the combination of crop cultivation with dairy farming or in more general terms, crop cultivation with livestock farming. For example, a mixed farm might grow wheat, corn, and soybeans, while also raising chickens, pigs, and cows.

The different crops and animals are usually managed separately, with each part of the farm having its own specific set of inputs, management practices, and output markets.

In mixed farming, a farmer can take up different types of practices for income generation while doing his main business of agriculture.

Some of these practices that can be done together with the main agricultural practices are – poultry farming, dairy farming, beekeeping, shrimp farming, goat and sheep rearing, and agroforestry.

Thus a farmer can raise his income by carrying out different farming practices together. The main reason why many farmers consider this type of farming is that if any one business does not pay the desired benefit, the same can be recovered from the benefit of the other business.

From this, you must have gleaned that in mixed farming, each farming area is a different business.

Disadvantages of Mixed Farming

  • Higher Costs
  • Labour Intensive
  • Invasive Diseases
  • Limited Efficiency
  • Decreased Level of Production
  • Competition for Resources
  • Higher Level of Maintainance
  • Limited Market
  • Climate Dependent
  • Reduction in Fertility of Soil

1. Higher costs

High up on my list of disadvantages of mixed farming is a higher cost for obvious reasons. This is the second concern of farmers after an available market.

Mixed farming requires a large number of resources to start and manage. Since a mixed farm is run with different operations, planning, and input.

Mixed farming requires a variety of equipment and resources, which can raise costs. Resources also include time, cash, land, Labour, etc to pull off.

Serious planning and thought must be put into consideration in dispersing wealth.

However, you are guaranteed of having a constant cash flow throughout the year if you plan your farm activities well.

2. Labour Intensive

10 disadvantages of mixed farming
Asia Farming

Mixed farming is labor-intensive, requiring farmers to manage multiple crops and animals. It requires trained laborers to manage. There are some areas of farming that need specialized hands.

Especially resource-poor farmers going into mixed farming have to apply labor-intensive techniques as their only resource.

Mixed farming utilizes space, labor, and resources to produce much greater volumes.

3. Invasive Diseases

The disease from one animal or plant might invade the farm and not be compatible with another specie. One species may host pathogens and transit disease to another easily.

4. Limited Efficiency

Mixed farming may be less efficient than specialized farming methods because farmers must manage a variety of crops and animals.

The labor is shared, resources of the farmer are shared.

Remember, proper planning can save you from this and make your farm different from others.

5. Decreased Level of Production

Decreased level of production as compared to monoculture. In monoculture, all resources are focused on one effort. However, in mixed farming, it is diversified by planning.

This causes a decreased level of production of each product. This is because all things being equal (e.g. climate) the product is equal to the effort.

To combat this and other disadvantages of mixed farming in your journey while maximizing your resources, you must properly plan.

6. Competition for Resources

It is not every crop that can be used together in mixed farming. Crops are carefully chosen.

Crops for mixed farming if not chosen properly, have chances of competition between the crops for nutrients. If not selected properly, there will be competition among the farming agents for resources.

Two crops should be selected in such a way that they do not compete for resources like land, water and sunlight, fertilizers, etc.

Some crops have the ability to resist harmful pests and weeds. If these crops are grown along with the primary crop on your farm, it helps by increasing yields and reducing soil erosion.

7. Difficulty of Maintainance

In mixed farming, the growth rate and optimal harvest date of the different crops differ. The mating season of the different animals differs. The growth rate and the multiplication of the animals also differ.

In a mixed farm, animals can be hazardous if they are not properly enclosed or tethered. They could destroy your crops. The effort it takes to control, monitor, and maintain procedures is more difficult.

A lot of skills and technical knowledge are required to manage both enterprises.

To not compound your labor, do not include choosy crops.

8. Limited market

This is the ultimate concern of farmers – an available market. Who wants to produce a product that has no market? Definitely not me. And this is one of the disadvantages of mixed farming.

Mixed farming has different operations and markets for each product. Remember, they’re each a different independent business.

Mixed farming may have a limited market for certain products, as the products may not be in demand. Since mixed farming includes different livestock and crops, the market around the farmer might not be within proximity.

If this is inevitable, it is advised that for maximal benefit and profit, the market for most of the products should be near.

9. Climate Dependent

10 disadvantages of mixed farming
source: Frontiers

Ninth on my list of the disadvantages of mixed farming for you – Climate Dependent. Mixed farming is dependent on the climate, and farmers may struggle if the weather is not favorable for their crops and animals.

And this is inconsistent due to climate change.

Agricultural producers may respond to the threats posed by climate change in any of these different ways:

You should consider using more drought-tolerant crops, changes in dietary choices, and implementing different farm management practices.

10. Reduction in Fertility of Soil

Last but not the list on my list of disadvantages of mixed farming is a reduction in the fertility of the soil. This type of farming system is done keeping in mind the needs of the soil and not the needs of the crop.

It also may reduce soil fertility as more than one crop is grown at a time on the same piece of land. It can cause a breakdown of soil structure and extensive loss of topsoil which can cause a decrease in crop yields over an extended period of time.

To solve this, practice crop rotation. It enhances the quality of the soil.

Conclusion

Mixed farming is a popularly practiced form of farming that involves both cropping and livestock or poultry rearing.

Mixed farming is essentially associated with highly urbanized areas. It is an advisable form of farming; a go-to for farmers looking to yield high profit or returns and is considered an efficient method of farming.

Multiple utilization of a single piece of farm. The disadvantages of mixed farming explained above include Higher Costs, Labour Intensive, Invasive Diseases, Limited Efficiency, etc.

Disadvantages of Mixed Farming

  • Higher Costs
  • Labour Intensive
  • Invasive Diseases
  • Limited Efficiency
  • Decreased Level of Production
  • Competition for Resources
  • Higher Level of Maintainance
  • Limited Market
  • Climate Dependent
  • Reduction in Fertility of Soil

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