Modern farmers are trying to minimize costs and achieve maximum results. For this reason, it is important to carefully analyze and understand how to properly manage a farm. There are many successful cases where cattle breeding and crop production have been combined in such a way that productivity was increased in both areas. Let’s look at such examples including the advantages and disadvantages of integrated farming.
Integrated farming system (IFS) is a cross-linked farming system where farmers use high-quality organic food and renewable energy. The main principle of such system is to reduce pollution and increase income by combining different types of farming. For example, we can talk about fields that are plowed by animals. Pigs can be used to dig up the earth in preparation for planting, and animal manure (like cow waste) can be used to fertilize crops and increase harvest. Birds can be used in vineyards and gardens to clear branches from rotten fruits and weeds; they also help to fertilize the soil.
Another factor to consider are water-based systems that promote efficient utilization of nutrients and fuel production. In aquaculture, fish breeding can be mixed with livestock care, as well as growing vegetables. There are many successful stories of farmers who decided to rear fish and ducks in ponds; this integration automatically reduces the cost of feeding the ducks. They, in turn, provide water with quality manure for the fishes. The ducks also keep the water from weeds, insects, snails and frogs that could harm or inconvenience the fishes.
Farmers can also combine fish and pig farming. Pig manure creates a favorable microflora in the pond for the reproduction of fish and enriches the soil with useful substances. Weeds are considered quite a serious problem in ponds, so they can serve as food for pigs.
Many animals can be a source of inexpensive fertilizers that can be put into good use on the farm, they consume and digest a lot of food with useful enzymes that do not lose their nutrients after defecation.
You may notice that the main principle in all cases is economical waste-free production. It sounds reasonable and profitable, but let’s look at the subject in more details and understand its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of integrated farming system are:
- Such farming system increases production to meet the demands of Nigerians.
- Proper processing of waste and related substances increases the profit of farmers. Intensification of crops growth maximizes income in relation to area, time and efforts.
- Soil remains fertile for a long time due to the correct use of organic waste. Most of the waste is converted, has a value and used within the framework of the integrated system.
- Integrated farming system ensures influx of income. This means that within a year it will be possible to make profit constantly from different agricultural sectors with separate seasons. The main thing is to choose the right spheres for work so that there are no idle times and pauses without income.
- The use of by-products makes the system more stable. The potential of the soil, which plays the role of an industrial base, is preserved.
- You can produce all kinds of healthy foods on just one farm; the products will be fully enriched with various useful components that the human body needs.
- This method of improving agricultural productivity is absolutely safe and environmentally friendly. The amount of waste is minimized. In such a setting, there is little decaying waste and pollution in comparison to other production methods. There is no need for excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pest control agents, so the water, soil and air remain clean.
- IFS opens up opportunities for the development of agro-industrial complex and diversifying national production. Such type of farming system is a promising foundation for the development of new progressive technologies, leading us to the future safer and more profitable farming. Modern farmers often rely on technologies and need their improvement, however, the cost of getting them raises the need to try new ways of obtaining profit.
- Alternative sources of energy can be used, reducing dependence on minerals. Utilization of organic substances is an efficient way of producing biogas. Thanks to this, it will be possible to postpone the crisis in the energy sector.
- When all plots of land are used rationally, livestock is always provided with food.
- New jobs will appear, minimizing the problem of unemployment; human labor will be needed throughout the year.
- If a farmer works in several industries at once and one of them develops rapidly, the others also automatically grows.
Disadvantages of integrated farming system are:
- When planning to receive double benefits, one should also be prepared to bear double responsibility as all the different spheres the farmer chooses to combine will have their own specific features.
- It often happens that fish farming, cattle rearing and plants farming contradict each other. For example, plants should not be treated with substances that can harm animals.
- It is necessary to thoroughly understand what you are going into. For example, if you plan to improve your yield with the help of manure, it is important to know how much is needed to avoid overdoing it, which will bring more harm than good. To prevent pollution, you need to be good at management and care.
- Scientists argue about the benefits of integrated farming. The process must be well thought through, down to the smallest details, so as to not contradict the norms of public health. Some experts say that combining birds, pigs and fish can cause diseases, such as influenza. It is known that human and avian influenza can be mixed in the body of a pig and new deadly viruses can arise in the process of mutation. There is no exact confirmation that this would happen, however, it is better to be cautious. As a security measure, farmers must abstain from combining pigs with birds.
Every advantage and disadvantage listed above is important, so always remember them if you plan on starting your own farming business. However, this is a quite promising industry, so it makes sense to work on obstacles and take advantage of opportunities. We hope that this information was useful to you.