Mixed Farming in India – Types, Characteristics and Advantages

02 May 2023
Mixed Farming in India – Types, Characteristics and Advantages
Mixed Farming is a practice in which cultivation of crops is combined with other farming activities on a single piece of farmland. It usually takes in the countries like India, and China, among others. It primarily served domestic consumption initially; now, many countries practice it for commercial consumption.

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Agriculture has been the backbone of India since Independence with more than 50% of population deriving their livelihood from it presently. Many types of farming are practiced in India depending upon various factors, the primary being the soil types and climate conditions, among others. In this article we will be reading about Mixed Farming in India, its types, characteristics, and advantages in detail.

What is Mixed Farming?

Mixed Farming is a practice in which multiple farm activities take place in addition to raising crops on a single piece of land. A crop can be grown along with farming activities like livestock rearing, beekeeping, fisheries, etc. The objective is to create as many sources of subsistence as possible. It primarily served domestic consumption initially; now, many countries like Japan and the United States practice it for commercial consumption.

In other words, the growing of crops and raising animals for eggs, meat or milk is termed mixed Farming. For example, the production of wheat or rye and the raising of cattle, pigs, sheep, or poultry simultaneously.

Types of Mixed Farming

Mixed Farming is divided into eight types. Let’s discuss each of them one by one.

Subsistence Farming

In this type of farming, farmers harvest food to fulfil their family needs on small landholdings. The crops raised under this farming are sufficient only for the farmers and their families.

Farmers usually practice this type of Farming for survival and mostly for local requirements leaving little, if any, surplus for trade. For example, A farmer raises wheat, which is only sufficient for the survival of their family.

Shifting Agriculture

It is a type of farming in which plots are prepared for vegetation, and cultivation takes place for a few years. After that, the plot is abandoned for a new land until its fertility is stored naturally, and the cultivator moves to another plot.

In simple words, the cultivation keeps shifting to new lands in this type of farming to provide enough time for the used land to regain fertility. In the Northeast part of India, shifting agriculture is also known as “Jhoom Cultivation.”

Plantation Agriculture

Plantation agriculture is a type of Farming in which a farmer grows a single crop throughout the year on a large hectare of land. This type of farming requires a substantial number of resources and labour.

In this farming, the raised crops can be managed on the farm only, in local production lines, or in small-scale enterprises. For example, the crops grown in plantation agriculture are sugarcane, tea, coffee, banana, etc.

Intensive Farming

This type of farming practice is used to produce crops and animals with higher yields per unit of farmland. In this type of farming, a large amount of capital and labour is used, considering the size of the land.

Intensive Farming is also known as traditional Farming, intensive cultivation, or modern Farming.

Dry Agriculture

Dry agriculture or dryland farming refers to the cultivation of crops without the use of water in areas with limited moisture. This agriculture practice is related to those areas illustrated by a cold, wet season followed by a hot, dry season.

Additionally, dry agriculture is linked to the regions that are dry, likely to dry and limited water resources.

Mixed and Multiple Agriculture

Mixed and Multiple Agriculture, commonly known as mixed cropping, is the process of growing two or more crops on similar land in a single season in place of one crop. Intercropping happens when multiple crops develop at the same time.

Multiple cropping and intercropping are connected as the growing process of two crops simultaneously on the same land is multi-cropping, while the development of those two crops in the same season is intercropping.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is the process of growing multiple crops on similar land across a sequence of growing seasons to maintain soil fertility, balance the soil nutrients, and minimise weed pressure.

A short rotation consists of a few crops, whereas a complex rotation includes twelve crops or more than twelve crops.

Terrace Cultivation

Terrace cultivation is a type of farming that includes different flat surfaces or platforms that are developed at different places worldwide. This practice consists of integrating the flat surfaces into a slope or side of a mountain. Growing crops vary by level. In case of rain, the supplements do not get washed away; instead, they move down to the lower level.

Characteristics of Mixed Farming

  • In mixed farming, yields are produced, and the livestock is reared on a similar plot.
  • A part of agricultural land is reserved for animal grassland. For animal feeding, a part of the land is reserved for the feeding of animals or for developing animal feeds if the animals are reared in special buildings.
  • The land used for mixed farming is moderate in size.
  • Dung from the animals is used in the soil to improve its fertility. The rearing of livestock helps farmers get dung which can further be applied on the farm to enhance its fertility. It enables farmers to increase their crops and earnings.
  • Crop remains are used for fodder. After crop harvesters, farmers use the crop remains to feed the animals, thereby saving money on buying animal food and getting quality annual outcomes like milk or meat.

Benefits of Mixed Farming

  • The first benefit is that farmers can rely on livestock if the production of crops is low, or the costs change.
  • The farmers will receive the income constantly. If farmers have properly planned animal husbandry with time, then their earnings will remain constant.
  • The combined earning from selling yield collection and animal products will always be greater when compared to crop cultivation or animal husbandry.
  • Practicing mixed farming will keep the farmers busy all the time. After crop production, farmers can concentrate on animal rearing, which ensures reliable earnings.
  • Using surplus crops as grains saves the cost of their purchase.
  • Using animal dung ensures supported yield production, saves costs, and increases soil health.

Difference between Mixed Farming and Mixed Cropping

  • Mixed farming involves both crop production and the rearing of livestock, whereas mixed cropping involves only crop production.
  • In mixed Farming, farmers practice crop cultivation and animal husbandry simultaneously, whereas, in mixed cropping, farmers practice the growing of two or more crops simultaneously in a similar field.
  • Mixed farming is an agriculture practice which is followed in many parts of the world, whereas mixed cropping is a part of mixed Farming.

Advantages of Mixed Farming

  • Mixed farming is beneficial to the environment since it is quite organic.
  • This crop-animal-rearing farming practice offers a range of financial benefits.
  • Mixed farming offers high returns on the farm since farmers can use all the products and earn more profit.
  • This farming system is quite economical since farmers need not buy fertiliser and feed to support crop growth or livestock maintenance.
  • It keeps the farmers busy throughout the year and offers double assurance on the earnings so that if crop production is poor in a particular season, they can rely on generating their income by selling milk, eggs, and meat.

Limitations of Mixed Farming

Mixed Farming is one of the preferred agricultural practices in India. Although, it comes with a couple of limitations also, which are discussed in this section:

  • One disadvantage of using mixed is that farmers will need more resources like equipment and tools to take care of the crops and livestock simultaneously.
  • Mixed farming will keep the farmers engaged in one line of business at a particular time.
  • Mixed farming should be practiced after taking additional education that helps to teach the farmer how to maintain a mixed farm.

Mixed Farming in India

Mixed Farming in India is widely practiced in the states of Kerala and Odisha. This type of farming helps minimise the cost of production per unit area, enhancing earnings and reducing farmers’ risk.


Mixed Farming offers high agricultural returns due to its closeness to urban markets, better transportation arrangement, and capability to receive rain. On numerous occasions, the cool, moist summers and moderately moist winters encourage the growth of grasses and hay crops. It means cattle will graze on these grasslands, which are always green and fresh.

So, we have discussed everything about mixed farming in India. We hope you get all the details regarding mixed Farming, its characteristics, types of mixed Farming, benefits, advantages, and disadvantages, etc. To learn more about mixed farming, stay tuned with Tractorkarvan.

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