- Methods of Farming
- A method of farming is an established way of carrying out farming activities.
- The following are the common methods of farming:
Agroforestry - Involves growing of trees and crops and keeping of animals on the same piece of land.
Suitable trees for agroforestry
- Leucaena leucocephala
- Gravillea robusta
- Calliandra catothrysus
- Mangiifera indica
- Sesbania sesban
- Lantana camara
- Cajanus cajan
Advantage of Agroforestry
- Saves labour since some operations can be done at once for both plants and trees
- Gives higher combined yield
- Provide wide variety of agricultural produce
- Reduces the risks of total failure
- Crops benefit from nitrogen fixing trees.
- Trees help in holding the soil firmly
- Some trees act as livestock fodder.
- Provides a wider variety of agricultural produce.
- Farming on a piece of land continuously until it is exhausted after which the farmer moves to a more fertile land.
Advantages of shifting cultivation.
- It has low capital requirement
- There is no pests and diseases build-up
- Soil structure is maintained
- No land disputes as land ownership is not individualized.
Disadvantages of shifting cultivation
- Total yields per unit are is low
- Farmers have no incentive to develop land and conserve water and soil
- A lot of time is wasted when the farmer is shifting and building structures.
- Not applicable in areas of high population density or where there is high population increase.
Organic farming is a method in which crops are grown and animals reared without use of artificial fertilizers or chemicals for pest control.
- Makes use of locally available materials
- Used to improve the soil structure
- More affordable and cost effective
- Better land sustainability for future use
- Reduces chemical toxicity
- Labour intensive
- Time required to reach the standard
- It is the practice of growing crops and keeping of livestock on the same land.
- Its common in high potential areas.
- Mutual benefit between crops and livestock.
- Crops supply feed for animals while animals supply manure for crops.
- Acts as an insurance against total loss by the farmer.
- The farmer is assured of an income throughout the year.
- There is maximum utilization of the resources.
- Animals can be used in the farm activities particularly draught animals.
- Ensures proper utilization of labour and land throughout the year.
- High initial capital.
- Lack of specialization.
- Land can be a limiting factor if both enterprises are to be raised.
- Requires high level of management for both enterprises.
- This is the practice of livestock rearing whereby animals are moved from one place to another in search of water and pastures.
- It is practiced in the arid and semi-arid areas where in most cases beef animals are kept.
- Nomadic pastoralism is gradually changing to ranching with the introduction of:
- Improved pasture species, improved livestock breeds and supplementary feeding.
- Efficient disease and parasite control measures.
- Improved infra-structure such as roads, water supply, cattle dipping facilities.
- Extension services.
- Serves as the backbone of beef industry in Kenya.
- Proper way of utilizing the arid and semi arid areas.
- Source of income to the pastoral communities.
- It encourages the spread of livestock pests and diseases due to communal watering points, grazing and dipping facilities.
- There is a tendency to increased soil erosion and land degradation.
- Source of conflicts and ethnic tension among the nomadic communities for the control of good pastures and water.
- Difficult to control breeding and breeding diseases.
- High rate of inbreeding leading to poor quality livestock.
- Low production of milk, meat, hides and skins due to wastage of energy in traveling from one place to another in search of pastures and water.
- High death rates as a result of walking for long distances.
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