In the development of organic agriculture, one of the important keys to improve production efficiency is to diversify crops and increase land use value per unit area. However, how to diversify to achieve the highest efficiency is not easy.

1/ What is crop diversification?

Crop diversification is a form of farming that makes the most of land resources with many types of crops intercropped, combined and taking advantage of each other's resources. In particular, the combination is selected so that the plants do not compete with each other but support each other in the best way.

2/ Benefits of crop diversification

Bringing into full play the potential advantages of the soil, making the best use of irrigation water, nutrients, fertilizers, etc.
Take the initiative in labor because each crop has a different time of care and harvest.
Limit pests and diseases because some plants have the effect of preventing or attracting insects. On the other hand, thanks to many species of plants living together, the outbreak of a certain pest will be limited.
Reduce the impact of extreme weather.
Increased income per unit of production.
Secure income source and reduce risk when the price of a certain agricultural product fluctuates.

3/ Things to know when diversifying crops

3.1 Selecting the right crops

Choosing which crops to plant on your farm is extremely important, because this is the main factor that determines the economic efficiency of your farm. economically, on the other hand, selecting suitable plants can ensure the normal process of nutrient regeneration in the farm.

When choosing plants, it should be noted that different types will lead to significant differences in their characteristics such as: Nutrient requirements, length of nutrient growth phases, growing period requiring more nutrients. most nutrients, depth of soil where nutrient uptake occurs, amount of nutrients in crop residues after harvest, time to decompose crop residues, etc.

Different crops have different requirements for the total amount of nutrients needed as well as the specific types of nutrients to produce maximum yield. Nutrient requirements can also change with each growth period of the plant, some plants need to provide more nutrients during the root development stage, increase the size of stems and leaves, some plants require more nutrients. higher nutrition during pollination, fruiting and fruiting, etc.

Different plants also have different lighting needs. While some plants prefer full light, there are plants that prefer dim light and others that grow best in shade. Some plants are almost indifferent to light conditions even though all plants need light.

Different plants have different root systems. In order to make the best decision on which crops are most suitable, it is necessary to know how their roots explore the soil differently, thereby creating optimal growth conditions for the plants in their relationship to each other when cultivated. alternating or consecutive. In general, some species of taproot plants can reach deep, while others have more evenly developed root systems.

3.2 Combining crops scientifically

If suitable crops are combined, mixed farming can give a higher total yield per unit area by knowing how to use the gaps ( above and below the ground) more efficiently and because of the beneficial interactions between plants.

When incorporating plants, it is important to limit competition for roots, especially during the period when the plants are most demanding for nutrients, ensuring their roots take up the best possible volume of soil.

Plants with strong roots should be combined or alternately planted with plants with weak roots. The distance between plants must be suitable to minimize competition for nutrients between them.
Plants with deep roots are best plante with those with shallow roots. Perennials can be combined well with seasonal plants. Legumes can be grown in conjunction with or before plants that require high nitrogen.

Species grown in combination should differ in growth habits and light requirements, for example shade-loving species intercropped below light-loving species.

3.3 Arrangement

When arranging mixed planting, planting can be mixed, planted in rows or planted in sections.

Mixed planting is when two or more plants are planted at the same time, sharing the same space or planted in adjacent rows, each plant can also be planted in a row.

Row planting is when two or more plants are planted at the same time, in rows next to each other with wide spacing.Partial planting is where a second crop is planted next before the previous crop is harvested.

In organic agriculture, crop diversification helps farmers not be dependent on just one crop, but can provide a continuous supply of products from the field in an ideal way. Therefore, growers should learn and apply a variety of cropping methods, contributing to sustainable agricultural development and income enhancement.


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