“Machan” farming (or a “multi-layer” system) involves the coexisting cultivation of multiple crops on the same land to make full use of the vertical growing areas. The combination of crops must be decided scientifically. Multilayer farming has the prospect of increasing the productivity of small farms. Crops are grown at various heights on the same land in this type of farming.
Shade is required for this cultivation, which cannot be done in open fields. Multi-story cropping and multi-tier farming are other names for multilayer farming. This type of farming is based on the principles of intercropping. This is the practice of cultivating a variety of crops with varying heights, root patterns, and planting periods. The purpose of this multi-layer cropping system is to use the vertical space more efficiently.
In this article, I’ll go over the basics of multi-layer cropping, including its principles, goals, benefits, and drawbacks.
Principles of Multi-layer farming
Multi-level agriculture is also integrated agriculture based on the principle of total use of water, fertilizer, and soil and higher yield per unit area. Although this farming technique offers many advantages over other farming systems, it requires lower cultivation costs. In multi-tiered farming, four or five crops can be planted with as much fertilizer and water as is required for one crop, which increases the farmer’s income.
Following are some basic principles of machan/multi-layer farming:
- Opportunities for crop diversification based on scientific, environmental, and economic principles
- to maximize the productivity of the system.
- use of resources efficiently
- Intensive use of input
- Sustainability of agricultural resources and the environment in the long run.
The process of growing crops in multi-layer farming
Multilayer farming is a modern integrated farming system in which 4 to 5 different crops are grown concurrently in a single crop field. In this farming technique, farmers sow seeds in multiple layers, where different crops of vegetables and fruits are grown simultaneously in a single crop in the deep, middle, upper, and uppermost layers of the soil, according to their root zone.
Vegetable seeds, for example, bitter gourd, pumpkin, bottle gourd, and Dolichos beans, are sown in small pits filled with a mixture of well-decomposed organic manure and soil to facilitate seed germination. The weak seeds are carefully removed after the seeds have germinated. Growing plants are staked on home-made trails to allow their common branches, and trails allow the area below. Growing plants are at stake to allow their normal branches on a home-made trellis, and the trellis allows the area below to be planted.
Farmers use this multi-layer farming method to grow vegetables (such as gourds in a trolley, peppers, turmeric, ginger, amaranthus, and spinach) and under creeper vegetables during their early growth and shade crops such as ginger. Turmeric and ginger, as well as creeping plants like Dioscoria or Dolichos bean, are commonly sown beneath mature plants or trees to aid in their growth. Insect integrated methods are used in a variety of ways. To improve productivity and soil fertility, plant field liquid manure, leaf-based liquid manure, or compost is used gradually.
Combinations of different crops in multi-layer farming
Some of the ideal combinations of the crops are given below:
- Coconut + banana + coffee.
- sesame+pigeon pea+groundnut.
The Objectives of Multiple Cropping
Growing three crops instead of one inherently affects the competition between crops for water and nutrients. Furthermore, farmers have developed a rotating system of land irrigation. In this type of farming, a farmer is given a whole day to irrigate the land with water stored in tanks. Through this cultivation, every farmer has the opportunity to irrigate his land from time to time.
- to increase the productivity of the crop.
- increasing the intensity of land use.
- Increasing cash income
- gaining more than one crop in a year.
- Making maximum use of land and time.
- expanding the scope of land use and diversification of agriculture.
- meeting the risk of an adverse climate at low market prices and for crops.
Benefits of the multi-layer system
Some of the advantages of Multilayer farming are listed below.
- good use of soil, water, and other resources.
- maintain environmental ecological balance
- Inhibit evaporation from the soil. As a result, 70% of the water is saved.
- This reduces the risk of crop damage and enables the system to provide a continuous supply of agricultural products throughout the year.
- With this system, the per unit area income increases significantly.
- It efficiently utilizes soil moisture at various depths and captures solar energy at various heights.
- It also reduces some pests and diseases and does not grow grass. It increases biodiversity, which can reduce the pressure of pests and diseases.
- They provide micro-climatic conditions that benefit the lower crops.
Disadvantages/Limitations of Multilayer farming
- It inhibits the production of seed crops.
- It prevents intercultural activities.
- It reduces the nutritional value of the soil.
- This form creates problems in adopting mechanization.
- Some multi-crop systems have inter-specific competition.
A multi-level farming system is an innovative approach to sustainable production in general and horticultural crops in particular, and for planting crops in coconut, apricot, and coffee. The inclusion of diversity in multi-tiered agriculture improves the quality and nutrient content of the soil. In addition, having more than one product in the same field at the same time reduces the possibility of being affected by diseases and infections. That way, you provide more profits for each collection that is between one piece of land (115% to 147%).