In contrast to shifting cultivation, continuous cropping implies the cultivation of the same piece of land year after year. Fallowing may occur, but it never occurs more than a season or two. The absence of a protracted fallow periods means that other soil management practices must be employed in order to maintain high soil fertility.
Continuous cropping system is a system which involves the growing of the same type of crops on the same piece of land every year. The system is normally practiced where there is scarcity of land and dense population, or where environmental conditions limit the type of crops that can be cultivated in that area.
Crops such as millet- can only be grown in some parts of Northern Nigeria for instance. In this system, a lot has to be done by the farmer to improve the Fertility of the soil by the addition of organic and inorganic manure.
This system (without pasture) can be sustained for decades, but requires careful management.
Agricultural practices for maintaining soil fertility under continuous cropping
- Application of fertilizers and other soil amendments in order to boost fertility.
- Judicious selection of the crops and crop combinations to be grown. Crop rotations and carefully planned inter-crop combination are indispensable.
- Introducing short term fallow periods in to the cropping cycle. A leguminous cover crop can be planted on the fallow land so as to aid the fixation of nitrogen by legumes during the fallow period and through increasing the soil organic matter content when the fallow crop is ploughed under.
Advantages of Continuous Cropping
- Land utilization under continuous cropping is extremely efficient. A very high percentage of land is under crops at any given time.
- It is possible and economically feasible, to erect permanent structures on the farm site.
- It helps to economize the use of farmlands since only one land is used for this cropping system.
- In this cropping system, a lot of time, energy and money is saved, since the farmer does not have to clear a new farm land every year.
- It kinda help improve the managerial skill of the farmer, as he or she will have to keep farming on a particular land and making sure that the best output is gotten from each season.
1) It encourages soil erosion because of he continuous activities on that soil/farm land.
2) Continuous cropping also leads to rapid loss of soil fertility. You know the reason right.
3) Continuous cropping encourages low yield as the nutrient content in the soil keeps reducing from time to time.
4) A lot of money is expended in buying fertilizers to improve the fertility of the soil in continuous cropping.
5) Continuous cropping encourages the build-up of pests, diseases and weeds in the farm.
6) Continuous cropping encourages the deterioration of the physical and chemical condition of the soil.