Mixed Farming: A Way of Sustainable Farming

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Throughout agriculture, we have seen that farmers have developed innovative strategies and technics to maximize their output and efficiency. Grown-up both crops and livestock simultaneously or using one field for two crops or more are both ways of employed making the most of the available resources. Mixed farming is the way, what we think about it.

Mixed Farming

Mixed farming is defined as farming involving more than two enterprises at the same time in the same place. It is combining two or more independent agricultural activities on the same farm. For example, raising livestock and crops simultaneously and on the same farm or location can be defined as mixed farming. Modern vertical farming is also called mixed farming.

mixed farm filed
Mixed farm field: Image Author

A common form of mixed farming is the combination of crop cultivation with dairy farming or in more relevant terms and even crop cultivation with livestock farming. Mixed farming may be treated as a special case of diversified farming at present. These types of combinations between enterprises support each other and help to make better output and more profitability for the farmer.

The manure or disposal that is produced by the livestock may be used to produce better crops, and the crops residuals are also be used to feed the livestock, which will be continuing as a circle. This provides an environmental balance between them and also supports a sustainable farm system.

Features of Mixed Farming

Today mixes framing is common worldwide, despite a tendency in agribusiness, or towards specialized forms of farming. Obviously, the mixed farming system has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, farmers who are engaged in this type of system have to divide their concentration and resources over several activities, which may lead to reduced economies of scale in terms of efficiency or productivity.

Advantages include the possibility of reducing risk, expanding labor, and re-utilization of available resources. The importance of these type farm depends on advantages and disadvantages of it which differs according to the sociocultural preferences of the farmers and to the biophysical conditions such as rainfall, radiation, type of soil, disease pressure, and other environmental factors.

Forms of Mixed Farming

In a mixed farming system, a farmer can grow up different types of agro-product to generate more income where his main business of agriculture. Some of these practices can be operated together with the prime or main agricultural practices, some of these are – poultry farming, dairy farming, beekeeping, sericulture, shrimp farming, fish farming, goat and sheep rearing, piggery, chitalpig farming, and agro-forestry. Thus a farmer can generate his income more through carrying out different types of mixed farming practices.

According to FAO it can be classified in many ways – based on land size, type of crops and animals, geographical distribution, market orientation, etc. Three major categories are introduced here. These categories are:

  1. On-farm versus between-farm mixing
  2. Mixing within crops or animal systems
  3. Diversified versus integrated systems

The modes of farming refer to different degrees of availability of land, labor, and inputs, ranging from plenty of land to a shortage of land. The modes are characterized by Schiere and De Wit (1995).

Advantages of Mixed Farming

1. It is environmentally friendly because it is sustainable and there is input-output relation between the sectors.

2. It offers a high return on the work of the farm since all products are utilized properly.

3. Feed and fertilizer do not need to be purchased to support the growth of crops or maintenance of livestock, saving money.

4. It increases the productivity of the farmland and It raises up the per capita profitability of a farm.

5. In the case of mixed farming systems both farming complement, each other side by side farmers can keep their fields under continuous production.

6. It enhances the productivity and efficiency of the farmer as well as the factors of production.

7. It Reduces dependency on external inputs as well as the cost of factors. In the example of mixed cropping of animal husbandry and crop farming, the crops and animal components can complement and support each other.

8. As the mixed farming system recycles most of its wastes, these reduce external inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. This in turn reduces CFCs’ gas emissions.

9. It helps to stabilize farmer income because the farmer is not depending solely on one activity.

Disadvantages of Mixed Farming

Required More Resources: According to FAO mixed farming requires more resources, such as tools and equipment that are used to care for livestock and crops simultaneously.

Monitoring: As a mixed farming system is consisting of more than single activity running simultaneously it is difficult to monitoring, control, and even maintains the total activities properly and sometimes there may be one activity that hinders the other activity.

Management Problem: The farmer needs to be an expert in more than one area as compared to a single cultured farmer. A mixed farming farmer has to run more than one or several activities at a time, there may be arisen management problems.


Mixed farming plays an important role in the sustainability of farming in the future. The ability to be included green manure into the system is paramount in building the soil and the profitability of the farm stability in the environment as well and cattle to this simply means there is a return on the money invested in these tools very soon.

A farmer who struggles to achieve the right balance in these systems will rely more and more on other advice also. This will not only take the form of agro-economic advice but includes learning from their farmer groups, measuring, and various other experts.

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