A strategic approach towards maximizing farm productivity to increase profitability is the Integrated Farming System. The main goal of Integrated Farming is for crop & livestock production to complement each other which in turn produces organic food of higher quality while concurrently producing organic manure, ultimately reducing farm waste & maximizing production.
For example, at Hastom, we practice Integrated Farming through cashew farming, cattle rearing, bee-keeping & legume/cereal crop cultivation. While a single bee hive can produce an average of 5 – 50 litres annually, which sells for an average of ₦3,000 per litre, the bees also increase pollination of cashew trees boosting harvest to generate an average of $1,000 annually; on the other hand, maize grains & stalk as well as groundnut fodder are fed to our cattle as part of their diet and their waste in-turn used to fertilize our soil as they control weeding by grazing on our farm.
Raising fish alongside poultry & cultivating vegetables is also another example of integrated farming. The waste from your poultry can be used as fish food and water waste from your fish pond can be used to fertilize your vegetable farm.
If you are looking for ways to maximize profitability on your farmland, then Integrated Farming is a guaranteed farming system to try out. Some advantages of Integrated farming are listed below:
- An integrated farming system ensures a continuous inflow of revenue all year round. This means that within a year it will always be possible to earn from different farm harvests in different seasons, as long as you choose the right crop & livestock combination so that there are little to no idle periods.
- Integrated farming helps minimizing input and maximizing output through strategic use of farm produce & waste which ordinarily may have no use to a monocropping farming system.
- This method increases agricultural productivity and is completely safe & environmentally friendly. The amount of waste is kept to a minimum. In such an environment, there is less rotting waste and less pollution compared to other production methods.
- Integrated farming demonstrates a diversification of farm investment. This ensures the farm is relatively safe in the event that one of the farming operations does not entirely perform as expected.
While the advantages of Integrated Farming outweigh the disadvantages, it’s particularly important to also take note of the drawbacks and how to effectively manage it, some of the disadvantages are;
- Need for utmost farm management practice. When planning to have multiple streams of benefits, one should also be prepared to bear double responsibility as all the different spheres the farmer chooses to combine will have their own farm management practice.
- Not all plants, animals can be mixed. The combination of birds, pigs and fish on farms can lead to outbreaks of diseases such as influenza. Humans can contract some of these diseases, and viral cleavage leads to fatal and incurable diseases. Also, certain crops are toxic and cannot be grown for use as feed for certain animals, poultry, or fish.
To a large extent, Integrated Farming satisfies the major goal of commercial farming which is the minimization of cost (input & resources) and maximization of revenue (farm harvest).
Understanding the technicalities of the IFS can be overwhelming to individuals with little to no agricultural experience, however, with a hands-on approach that ensures the best from your farm, our team will make use of our experience & knowledge in agribusiness to set up a profitable farm investment on your behalf.