Intercropping: Growing of two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land (field). There is a crop intensification in both time and space dimensions. There is intercrop competition during all or part of crop growth.
Type of intercropping:
1. Mixed intercropping
2. Row intercropping
2. Strip intercropping
4. Relay intercropping
Definitions of Intercropping system:
1. Mixed Intercropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously with no district row arrangement.
2. Row Intercropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously where one or more crops are planted in rows.
3. Strip Intercropping: Growing soil conserving and soil depleting crops in alternate strips running perpendicular to the slope of the land or to the direction of prevailing winds for the purpose of reducing errosion.
4. Relay Intercropping: Seeding planting two or more succeeding crops after flowering and before the harvest of the standing crop.
1. Intercropping gives higher income per unit area than sole cropping.
2. It acts as an insurance against failure of crop in abnormal year.
3. Intercrops maintain soil fertility as the nutrient uptake is made from both layers.
4. Reduce soil runoff.
Limitations: Intercropping system is uneconomical and undesirable during rabi.
Crops to be considered for intercropping.
A) Kharif crops:
1. Medium black soils:
a) Pearl millet + Red gram 2: 1
b) Pearl millet + Horse gram / Kidney bean / cow pea Inter row of pearl millet.
3. Soils up to 20 cm depth
a) Pearl millet + red gram (30 - 60 - 30 cm)
B) Rabi crops:
Safflower + Gram (2: 1)
D) Fodder for milch animals: Sorghum bajara + Cowpea or horse gram or kidney bean.
In rained areas of Maharashtra:
1. Sorghum / pearl millet / cotton + red gram / black gram or kidney bean or cowpea or groundnut.
2. Groundnut + Sunflower.
Cotton + soybean, cotton + Black gram
Safflower + gram
How intercropping economizes water use:
Selection of intercrop is one the basis of duration of crop and growth rethyms. The short duration crop gets harvested and long duration crop gets the benefits of September showers and produces more yields. E.g. Pearl millet + red grams.
LER: It is observed that under the rainfall situation deviating from 2090 to 50 percent, the intercropping system of bajara + red gram is more stable as cowpea to the pure crops tried. On an average, the land equivalent ratio (LER) comes to 77 percent compared to pure crop.
Thanks & Regards:
Udham Singh Nagar