farming system is integration of crops, livestock, aquaculture, agro-forestry, agri-horticulture etc. for efficient use of farm resources to augment farm income and sustainability in production.
However, in the literature, there may not be much significant difference between the two. To distinguish between the two, another system called specialized farming
system has been coined. A specialized farming system is one which concentrates on single cropping system or sequence of farming enterprises like animal breeding, dairying etc. to achieve the highest degree of precision management with minimal diversion of resources/attention to diverse crops or enterprises, differing widely in managerial skills and involving extremely different implements and/or handling capabilities for the produce.
Integrated farming system a component of farming system, introduces a change in the farming technique for maximum production in the cropping pattern and takes
care of optimal utilization of resources. Farm wastes are better recycled for productive purposes in integrated farming system. Unlike specialized farming system, integrated farming systems activity is focused round a few selected, interdependent, interrelated and often interlinking production systems based
on a few crops, animals and related subsidiary professions (Jayanthi et al 2002).
It appears that the farming systems approach is not entirely a new approach to farming communities in developing countries and India is not an exception. An insight into traditional farm activities in India, earlier to 1950s, clearly indicates that intensive farming systems were in existence from times immemorial.
In India, akin to other developing countries, majority of the farmers belong to the category of marginal to small land holders. As their resource use capabilities are low, their farming activities remain by and large, subsistence in nature than commercial. Self reliance for household food needs has been an issue of primary importance to many millions of them. However, the farmer is not working in isolation. His farming activities are constantly influenced by the biophysical, social and economical factors. On any given farm, farming activities, by and large, may comprise of any one or combination of the following:
• Cropping: mono or multiple
• Horticulture: vegetable, orchards, plantations, flower cultivation or nursery
• Agroforestry systems (agri-horticulture, agri-pasture, silvi-pasture, agri-silvi-pasture etc.)
• Livestock: milch animals/draught animals
• Sheep/goat rearing
• Apiculture (beekeeping)
A farming system may comprise one or more than one enterprise and in most situations, only one of them is of primary importance around which the entire farm activities revolve, where as others, if any, may of secondary or tertiary importance. Farmers’ resource base and his needs are important and not the multiplicity of enterprises on his under farming systems approach.
Integrated farming systems for different zones
Suggested integrated farming systems for different zones in India (Jayanthi et al 2002) are given below:
High altitude cold desert: Pastures with forestry, goats, rabbits along with limited crops like millets, wheat, barley and fodders.
Arid and desert regions: Animal husbandry with camels, sheep and goat with moderate crop component involving pearl millet, wheat, pulses and fodders.
Western and Central Himalayas: Emphasis on horticultural crops with crops like maize, wheat, rice, pulses and fodders on terraces.
Eastern Himalayas: Crops like cereals, millets and pulses and agoforestry. Piggery and poultry are also ideal.
Indo-Gangetic Plains: intensive crop husbandry involving rice, maize, wheat, mustard and pulses and dairy.
Central and southern highlands: crops such as millets, pulses, and cotton along with dairy cattle, shee, goat and poultry.
Western Ghats: Plantation crops, rice and pulses. Livestock components include cattle, sheep and goats.
Delta and coastal plains: Rice and pulse crops along with fish and poultry