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Difference between Mixed Cropping and Intercropping

A crop is a plant that is grown on a large scale for profit or survival, e.g. wheat, rice, cotton, fruits, vegetables etc. The farmers follow some specific pattern or systems to grow crops. The two most common cropping systems followed by farmers are mixed cropping and intercropping. Let us see the difference between a mixed cropping system and intercropping system!

Mixed Cropping:

Mixed cropping refers to a cropping technique in which two or more plants or crops are cultivated simultaneously in the same piece of land or farm. The seeds of plants are mixed before sowing. This technique is practiced to decrease the risk of total crop failure due to adverse climatic conditions or less rainfall.

One crop may be the main crop and rest may be the subsidiaries. In general, it is believed that planting multiple crops simultaneously helps save space as different crops in the same field usually ripen at different seasons. Furthermore, this technique also helps restore soil fertility as the remains of one plant aid the growth of another plant which helps increase the overall yield.

The crops for mixed cropping are selected on the basis of their water need, nutrients requirements, the time required to grow and ripen etc. The widely used combinations of crops in mixed cropping are wheat and mustard, groundnut and sunflower, etc.

Intercropping:

Intercropping refers to a cropping technique in which two or more crops are planted simultaneously in the same piece of land in a specific row pattern in order to increase the productivity of the crops. This technique is followed by the small farmers who are totally dependent on rainfall for better yield and don?t have any other options like tube well, canals etc.

This technique involves specific row patterns such as 1:1, 1:2, meaning one row of the main crop and one or two rows of another crop. The crops with different nutrients requirement are planted together in this technique to ensure optimum utilization of the nutrients and nutrients of the soil are not overused. It also helps prevent the spreads of plant pests and diseases to the plants.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between mixed cropping and intercropping are as follows:

Mixed Cropping Intercropping
A cropping technique in which two or more plants or crops are planted simultaneously in the same piece of land. A cropping technique in which two or more plants or crops are planted simultaneously in the same piece of land in a specific row pattern.
It does not follow any planting pattern. It follows a specific planting pattern.
Seed are mixed before sowing. Seeds are not mixed before sowing.
Same fertilizers and pesticides are required for all the crops. Different fertilizers and pesticides are required for different crops.
It is practiced to minimize the risk of crop failure due to unfavourable climatic conditions. It is practiced to increase the productivity of the crops.
Competition exists between the crops. Competition does not exist between the crops.
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