Friday, 22 February 2013

Choosing the Right Combination of Crops - Short Term, Medium Term & Long Term Crops

In our Agriculture for Everybody blog series, we are going to see how to choose the Right Combination of Crops.
In continuation with the filter (criteria) for selecting the crops, we will be covering a very important topic in this blog and it may be a considered a super filter rather than just another filter.  Within this filter, you can ensure that other filters are also taken care of.

What is meant by Short Term, Medium Term & Long Term Crops?

Short Term Crops - Any crop that has life term of about 1 Yr and less (<= 1 Yr) is considered Short Term Crops

For eg, Paddy,  Leafy Green Vegetables, Cereals, Millets etc

Medium Term Crops - Any crop that has life term of greater than 1 Yr and less than 5 Yrs  (> 1 Yr & <= 5 Yrs) is considered Medium Term Crops

For eg, Sugarcane, Banana, Bamboo, Pappaya etc

Long Term Crops - Any crop that has life term of greater than 5 Yrs (> 5 Yrs) is considered Long Term Crops

For eg, Mango, Coconut, Teak etc

Is it necessity to go for only Short Term or Medium Term or Long Term Crops? Does one exclude the other?

Simply putting it, all are necessary.

Short Term Crops provide us with cash flow capabilities and takes care of day-to-day operations cost of the farm.

Medium Term Crops provides with cash flow capabilities that will allow the farmer to extend the farming operations like buying costly machinery which may be required for the farm.

Long Term Crops provides with cash flow capabilities that will allow the farmer to plan for long term.

Please note that in both the Medium Term & Long Term Crops there is the waiting (gestation) period for output and hence keep this in mind while planning for further activities in the farm.

To give a concrete example why having the combined crops is necessary, let us re-visit the recent past.

During the Thane Cyclone, Cuddalore (in Tamilnadu) was affected heavily and most of the farmers have lost their Cashnew & Jackfruit crops which are considered Long Term Crops.

If for example, if they have used the SML (Short, Medium & Long Term) model, their daily survival would not suffer as they can easily re-invest in the Short Term Crops and ensure their survival is not at stake while re-building their Medium & Long Term Crops.

Another example would be the disastrous drop in Turmeric Prices after reaching the peak before those years.

By following the SML model and ensuring diversification well, the farmers profit or loss is well balanced and they can easily carry on without much difficulty.

By adopting the SML model, we can see the following benefits.
  • Cash Flow is maintained at all times
  • Work Load is balanced
  • Need of Labour is balanced and hence can have permanent labour and reduced need of temporary labour (in bulk)
  • Vagaries of the market price affecting our produce is balanced

How much percentage of Short Term, Medium Term & Long Term Crops is required?

We should have a balanced approach here and ensure that all the crops have similar percentage of land allocated to it.

The idea is to have a combination of all the crops so that we have continuous work in our farm as well as to ensure the cash flow is steady.


  1. Thanks for the excellent information posted here! Please keep sharing the information like this.

    Agriculture and Farming forum

  2. Really very useful information for farmers and lay man. keep updating the information so that farmers are guided continuously. Keep doing this divine work.