ArticlePDF Available

A General Overview on Intercropping and Its Advantages in Sustainable Agriculture

Authors:

Abstract

Agricultural sector as important economic activities in various communities requires coherent planning in order to achieve development and confront with crises. Sustainable agriculture is more efficient in use of resources such as soil and water, and is in balance with the environment conditions. Conventional farming and monocropping systems In addition to depletion the natural resource, is caused environmental pollution. Intercropping can be defined as a multiple cropping system that two or more crops planted in a field during a growing season. Intercropping is a ways to increase diversity in an agricultural ecosystem. Ecological balance, more utilization of resources, increases the quantity and quality of products and reduction damage by pests, diseases and weeds will increases with use of intercropping systems. Row-intercropping, mixed- intercropping, strip-intercropping and relayintercropping are most important types of intercropping. Crops yield increases with intercropping due to higher growth rate, reduction of weeds, pests and diseases and more effective use of resources. Pest and disease damage in intercropping is less than pure cropping, due to pest or pathogen attract by the second crop species, Also weeds will be control, when crops in intercropping system have a complementary effect together. Soil fertility increases by using plants of leguminosae family in intercropping, due to the increasing amount of biological nitrogen fixation.
J. Appl. Environ. Biol. Sci., 1(11)482-486, 2011
© 2011, TextRoad Publication
ISSN: 2090-4215
Journal of Applied Environmental
and Biological Sciences
www.textroad.com
*
Correspondence Author:
Sayed Roholla Mousavi, Department of Agriculture, Payame Noor Universtiy, PO BOX 19395-3697,
Tehran, Iran
, Email: rr_mousavi@yahoo.com
A General Overview on Intercropping and Its Advantages in
Sustainable Agriculture
Sayed Roholla Mousavi1*; Hamdollah Eskandari 2
1, 2 Department of Agriculture, Payame Noor Universtiy, PO BOX 19395-3697, Tehran, Iran
ABSTRACT
Agricultural sector as important economic activities in various communities requires coherent planning
in order to achieve development and confront with crises. Sustainable agriculture is more efficient in
use of resources such as soil and water, and is in balance with the environment conditions.
Conventional farming and monocropping systems In addition to depletion the natural resource, is
caused environmental pollution. Intercropping can be defined as a multiple cropping system that two
or more crops planted in a field during a growing season. Intercropping is a ways to increase diversity
in an agricultural ecosystem. Ecological balance, more utilization of resources, increases the quantity
and quality of products and reduction damage by pests, diseases and weeds will increases with use of
intercropping systems. Row-intercropping, mixed- intercropping, strip-intercropping and relay-
intercropping are most important types of intercropping. Crops yield increases with intercropping due
to higher growth rate, reduction of weeds, pests and diseases and more effective use of resources. Pest
and disease damage in intercropping is less than pure cropping, due to pest or pathogen attract by the
second crop species, Also weeds will be control, when crops in intercropping system have a
complementary effect together. Soil fertility increases by using plants of leguminosae family in
intercropping, due to the increasing amount of biological nitrogen fixation.
Keywords: Agriculture, intercrop, monocropping, sustainable.
INTRODUCTION
Agricultural to concept of ways and methods of the operation of water resources, soil and energy in order to
provide food and clothing needs of human, constantly throughout history has been the foundation of economic,
social, political and cultural development in over the world. One of the main needs of each dynamic activity is
planning within the general objectives on it activity; agricultural sector also as one of the most important economic
activities in various communities requires coherent planning in order to achieve development and confront with
crises. Sustainable agriculture is a type of agriculture that is more efficient in use of resources, for the benefit of
human, and is in balance with the environment. In other words, sustainable agriculture must be ecologically
appropriate, economically justified and socially desirable. Objectives of sustainable agriculture have a closely
associated with its definitions; objectives of the successful sustainable agriculture program are the following:
provide food security along with increased quality and quantity, with considering the needs of future generations;
conservation of water, soil and natural resources; conservation of energy resources inside and outside the farm;
maintain and improving farmers profitability; maintain the vitality of rural communities; conservation of
biodiversity (Eskandari, 2012a; Earles, 2005; Gruhn et al., 2000).
In conventional farming and monocropping systems, although high yield per unit area is been able to provide
the nutritional needs of growing populations in some areas, but these systems requires direct and indirect to
abundant costs and energy that arise from fossil fuels. In terms of ecology and environment, monocropping has been
caused a series of serious problems. Human by excessive use of resources such as water, soil, forests, pastures and
natural resources not only put them at risk of extinction, but also with the creation of pollution caused by industrial
activities, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, threatens the earth (Reganold, 1992). If farming activities be conducted
based on ecological principles, in addition to preventing the destruction of natural ecosystems, the result is stable
condition (Mazaheri et al., 2006). Also agricultural systems must provide needs of people today and future
generations; therefore it seems that is essential achieving to sustainable agriculture. One of the key strategies in
sustainable agriculture is restoration diversity to agricultural ecosystems, and its effective management.
Intercropping is a ways to increase diversity in an agricultural ecosystem. Intercropping as an example of sustainable
agricultural systems following objectives such as: ecological balance, more utilization of resources, increasing the
482
Mousavi and Eskandari, 2011
quantity and quality and reduce yield damage to pests, diseases and weeds. Success of intercrops in comparison with
a pure cropping can be determined by a series of agronomic operations that interactions between the species will be
affected by them. These operations are including ultimate density, planting date, resources availability and
intercropping models (Mazaheri et al., 2006; Gliessman, 1997; Hatfield and Karlen, 1993).
Perspectives and define Intercropping
Although there is no recorded history for intercropping and multiple cropping, however, considering the
available evidence planting crops as a combined has a long history. Intercropping is as a multiple cropping system,
in which two or more crops species planted simultaneously in a field during a growing season. Of course this does
not mean that in the intercropping, plants can be planting at a time together, but is the purpose that two or more
crops are together in one place, during their growing season or at least in a timeframe. Therefore is possible that the
plants are different in terms of planting time, and a plant is planted after the first plant (Mazaheri et al., 2006; Ofori
and Stern, 1987).
Types of intercropping
Compared with pure cropping in which one species is planted, intercropping is consisting planting of two or more
crops. Intercropping can be included: annual plants with annual plants intercrop; annual plants with perennial plants
intercrop; and perennial plants with perennial plants intercrop (Eskandari et al., 2009a; Ghanbari and Lee, 2003)
The intercropping is divided into the following four groups (Vandermeer, 1992; Ofori and Stern, 1987):
1- Row-intercropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously where one or more crops are planted in
regular rows, and crop or other crops may be grown simultaneously in row or randomly with the first
crop.
2- Mixed- intercropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously with no distinct row arrangement.
This type of can be suitable for grass-legume intercropping in pastures.
3- Strip-intercropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously in different strips wide enough to
permit independent cultivation but narrow enough for the crops to interact ergonomically.
4- Relay- intercropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously during part of the life cycle of each.
A second crop is planted after the first crop has reached its reproductive stage but before it is ready for
harvest.
Advantages of intercropping
There are many reports concerning the positive effects and also superiority of intercrop than the pure
cropping. Most important advantages of intercropping are the following:
1- Increasing production
One of the main reasons for the use of intercropping around the world is produced more than a pure cropping
of same land amount (Caballero and Goicoechea, 1995). Ghanbari and Lee, (2002) reported that dry matter
production in wheat and beans intercrops had been more than their pure cropping. Also Martin and Snaydon, (1982)
in their study reported that grain and dry matter yield in bean and barley intercrops was more than their pure
cropping. Odhiambo and Ariga, (2001) with maize and beans intercrops in different ratios found that production
increased due to reduced competition between species compared competition within species. Wiley, (1990)
considers intercropping as an economic method for higher production with lower levels of external inputs. This
increasing use efficiency is important, especially for small-scale farmers and also in areas where growing season is
short (Altieri, 1995). Production more in intercropping can be attributed to the higher growth rate, reduction of
weeds, reducing the pests and diseases and more effective use of resources due to differences in resource
consumption (Eskandari, 2012b; Eskandari et al., 2009b;Watiki et al., 1993; Willey, 1990; Willey, 1985). In
addition, if there are "complementary effects" between the components of intercropping, production increases due to
reducing the competition between them (Mahapatra, 2011; Zhang and Li, 2003; Willey, 1979).
2- Greater use of environmental resources
Advantages of intercropping in the crop production in comparison with pure cropping are due to the
interaction between components in intercrops and the difference in competition for the use of environmental
resources (Mahapatra, 2011; Valdez and Fransen, 1986). If the intercrops components have a difference together in
use of environmental resources, so that are complementary in use of this resources, thus use of the resources is more
effective than a pure cropping, and the result increased yield (Jensen, 1996). In terms of competitive this means that,
intercrops components are not competition for same nich (ecological nest) due to differences morphological and
483
J. Appl. Environ. Biol. Sci., 1(11)482-486, 2011
physiological, and competition between species is less than competition within species (Vandermeer, 1992). Francis
and Decoteau, (1993) reported that sweet corn yield increase by planted with pea as intercrops due to better use of
environmental resources. It also noted that competition between species in maize and peas’ intercrop was less than
the competition within species. Wahua, (1983) found that nutrient uptake by intercropped maize and cow pea as one
of the environmental resources, was higher than pure cropping, and intercrops components were complementary in
the use of resources (Eskandari and Kazemi, 2011; Eskandari et al., 2009b).
3- Reduction of pests, diseases and weeds damage
One important advantage of intercropping is its ability to reduce pest and disease damage. In general
strategies involved in reducing pest infestation and damage in intercropping can be divided into three groups: First:
delimiter crop hypothesis: this way that second species, breaks down the ability of a pest in attack to its host, and is
used more in proprietary pests. Second: trap crop hypothesis: means that second species, attracted towards their, pest
or pathogen that normally does damage to the main species, and is used more in general pests and pathogenic agents.
Third natural enemies’ hypothesis: this way that predators and parasites are more attracted in intercropping, than the
monocropping, and thereby diminishes parasitized and prey (Danso et al., 1987). Although intercropping does not
always reduce pest or pathogen, but most reports have pointed to reduced populations of pests and diseases in the
intercropping (Fujita et al., 1992). In a review by Francis, (1989) on intercropping, in 53% of the experiments
intercropping reduced the pest, and in 18% increased the pest than the pure cropping. Increasing pests can be due to
several reasons, such as the second crop is a host for pests in intercropping, or increasing the shade in canopy,
provides favorable conditions for pests and pathogens activity. In addition plant residues can be as a source for
pathogens inoculated (Anil et al., 1998; Watiki et al., 1993). More species diversity in agricultural ecosystems can
limit the plant pathogenic spread. Intercropping systems increases biodiversity like the natural ecosystems. This
increase in diversity reduces pest damage and diseases (Anil et al., 1998).
It is well known that the weeds interfere with crops causing serious impacts through either competition (for
light, water, nutrients and space) or allelopathy. Intercropping patterns are more effective than monocropping in
suppression of weeds, but their effectiveness varies greatly (Girjesh and Patil, 1991). Intercrops may demonstrate
weed control advantages over pure cropping in two ways. First, greater crop yield and less weed growth may be
achieved if intercrops are more effective than pure cropping in usurping resources from weeds or suppressing weed
growth through allelopathy. Alternatively, intercrops may provide yield advantages without suppressing weed
growth below levels observed in component pure cropping if intercrops use resources that are not exploitable by
weeds or convert resources to harvestable material more efficiently than pure cropping. Because of the difficulty of
monitoring the use of multiple resources by intercrop/weed mixtures throughout the growing season, identification
of specific mechanisms of weed suppression and yield enhancement in intercrop systems has so far proven elusive
(Matt and Dyck, 1993). In monocropping systems rarely, all available natural source such as moisture, nutrients and
light are used by plant, consequently released nich are captured by the weeds. If used plants in the intercropping, in
the use of resources are complementary, in this case intercropping system with more and effective use of ecological
resources, and filling the empty nich, leads to weed control are better and effective than the monocropping system
(Saudy and El-Metwally, 2009; Altieri, 1995). Soria et al., (1975) with corn- cassava and beans- cassava intercrops
announced that intercropping is effective in weed control.
4- Stability and uniformity Yield
For farmers who have limited sources, income and stability yield of agricultural systems is very important.
When several crops can be grown together, fail to produce a product, could be compensated by other crop, and
thereby reduces the risk. Risk of agronomy failure in multi cropping systems is lower than pure cropping systems. It
may be an appropriate growth condition for a species and inappropriate for other species (Eskandari et al., 2009a).
5- Improve soil fertility and increase in nitrogen
Conservation of soil fertility in intercropping is a form of rotation that each season is done on land.
Rhizobium bacteria are able to have a symbiotic relationship with plants of leguminosae family, and thereby can
fixation of atmospheric nitrogen into available nitrogen for plants uptake. And the result nitrogen (as an essential
element for soil fertility and plant growth) is added to the soil. There are several reports indicating that increasing
the nitrogen content in non-legume plants, due to the intercrops of these plants with plants of leguminosae family
(Eskandari et al., 2009a; Anil et al., 1998; Fujita et al., 1992).
484
Mousavi and Eskandari, 2011
REFERENCES
Altieri, M.A., 1995. Agroecology: the science of sustainable agriculture, second edition. Publisher: Westview Press.
Anil, L., J. Park, R.H. Phipps and F.A. Miller, 1998. Temperate intercropping of cereals for forage: review of
potential for growth and utilization with particular reference to the UK. Grass and Forage Science, 53: 301-
317.
Caballero, R. and E.L. Goicoechea, 1995. Forage yield quality of common vetch and oat sown varing seeding ratios
and seeding rates of vetch. Field Crops Research, 41: 135-140.
Danso, S.K., G. Hardarson and M. Fried, 1987. Nitrogen fixation in faba beans as affected by plant population
density in sole or intercropped systems with barley. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 19: 411-415.
Earles, R., 2005. Sustainable agriculture: An Introduction. NCAT Program Specialist.
Eskandari, H and K. Kazemi, 2011. Weed control in maize-cowpea intercropping system related to environmental
resources consumption. Notulae Scientia Biologicae, 3: 57-60.
Eskandari, H., 2012a. Yield and quality of forage produced in intercropping of maize (Zea mays) with cowpea
(Vigna sinensis) and mungbean (Vigna radiate) as double cropped. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific
Research, 2: 93-97.
Eskandari, H., 2012b. Intercropping of maize (Zea mays) with cowpea (Vigna sinensis) and mungbean (Vigna
radiata): effect of complementarity of intercrop components on resource consumption, dry matter production
and legumes forage quality. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, 2: 355-360.
Eskandari, H., A. Ghanbari and A. Javanmard, 2009a. Intercropping of cereals and legumes for forage production.
Notulae Scientia Biologicae, 1: 07-13.
Eskandari, H., A. Ghanbari-Bonjar, M. Galavai and M. Salari, 2009b. Forage quality of cow pea (Vigna sinensis)
intercropped with corn (Zea mays) as affected by nutrient uptake and light interception. Notulae Botanicae
Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 37: 171-174.
Francis, C.A., 1989. Biolgical efficiencies in multiple cropping systems. Advance in Agronomy, 42: 1-42.
Francis, R. and D.R. Decoteau, 1993. Developing and effective southern pea and sweet corn intercrop system.
Horttechnology, 3: 178-184.
Fujita, K., K.G. Ofosu and S. Ogata, 1992. Biological nitrogen fixation in mixed legume-cereal cropping system.
Plant and Soil, 144: 155-175.
Ghanbari, A. and H.C. Lee, 2002. Intercropped field beans (Vicia faba) and wheat (Triticum aestivum) for whole
crop forage: effect of nitrogen on forage yield and quality. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 138: 311-
314.
Ghanbari, A. and H.C. Lee, 2003. Intercropped wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and bean (Vicia faba L.) as a whole-
crop forage: effect of harvest time on forage yield and quality. Grass and Forage Science, 58(1): 28-36.
Girjesh G.K. and V.C. Patil, 1991. Weed management studies in groundnut and sunflower intercropping system.
Journal of Oilseeds Research, 8: 7-13.
Gliessman, S.R., 1997. Agroecology: ecological processes in sustainable agriculture. Publisher: CRC Press.
Gruhn, P., F. Goletti and M. Yudelman, 2000. Integrated nutrient management, soil fertility, and sustainable
agriculture: current issues and future challenges. International Food Policy Research Institute Washington,
D.C. U.S.A.
Hatfield, J.L. and D.L. Karlen, 1993. Sustainable agriculture systems. Publisher: CRC Press.
Jensen, E.S., 1996. Grain yield, symbiotic N2 fixation and interspecific competition for inorganic N in pea-barley
intercrops. Plant and Soil, 182: 25-38.
Mahapatra, S.C., 2011. Study of grass-legume intercropping system in terms of competition indices and monetary
advantage index under acid lateritic soil of India. American Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 1(1): 1-6.
485
J. Appl. Environ. Biol. Sci., 1(11)482-486, 2011
Martin, M.P.L.D. and R.W. Snaydon, 1982. Intercropping barley and beans I. Effects of planting pattern.
Experimental Agriculture, 18: 139-148.
Matt, L. and E. Dyck, 1993. Crop rotation and intercropping strategies for weed management. Ecological
Applications, 3(1): 92-122.
Mazaheri, D., A. Madani and M. Oveysi, 2006. Assessing the land equivalent ratio (LER) of two corn (Zea mays L.)
varieties intercropping at various nitrogen levels in Karaj, Iran. Journal of Central European Agriculture,
7(2): 359-364.
Odhiambo, G.D. and E.S. Ariga, 2001. Effect of intercropping maize and beans on striga incidence and grain yield.
Seventh Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Maize Conference, 183-186.
Ofori, F. and W.R. Stern, 1987. Cereal-legume intercropping system. Advance in Agronomy, 41: 41-90.
Reganold, J.P., 1992. Effects of alternative and conventional farming systems on agricultural sustainability.
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Washington State University Pullman, WA, USA.
Saudy H.S., and I.M. El-Metwally, 2009. Weed management under different patterns of sunflower-soybean
intercropping. Journal of Central European Agriculture, 10(1): 41-52.
Soria, J.R., A. Bazan and J. Fargas, 1975. Investigation of intercropping in pest management in corn-cassava and
bean- cassava intercropping. Experimental Agriculture, 32: 283-295.
Valdez, F.R. and S.C. Fransen, 1986. Corn- sunflower intercropping as silage crop. Journal of Dairy Science, 69:
138-142.
Vandermeer, J.H., 1992. The Ecology of Intercropping. Publisher: Cambridge University Press.
Wahua,T.A., 1983. Nutrient uptake by intercropped maize and cow pea and concept of nutrient supplementation
index (NSI). Experimental Agriculture, 19: 263-275.
Watiki, J., S. Mfukai, J.A. Banda and B.A. Keating, 1993. Radiation interception and growth of maize/cowpea
intercrop as an affected by maize plant-density and cow pea cultivar. Field Crop Research, 35: 123-133.
Willey, R.W., 1979. Intercropping- its importance and research needs. Part 1: Competition and yield advantages.
Field Crop Research, 32: 1-10.
Willey, R.W., 1985. Evaluation and presentation of intercropping advantages. Experimental Agriculture, 21: 119-
133.
Willey, R.W., 1990. Resource use in intercropping systems. Journal of Agriculture and Water Management, 17:
215-231.
Zhang, F. and L. Li, 2003. Using competitive and facilitative interactions in intercropping systems enhances crop
productivity and nutrient-use efficiency. Plant and Soil, 248: 305-312.
486
... The success of the intercropping system can be achieved by several agronomic manipulations, such as arranging plant density, planting time, resource availability and intercropping patterns [3]. Intercropping can significantly increase total productivity compare to monocropping, due to better and more efficient use of water, nutrition, and light energy [8, 9, and 10]. ...
... Intercropping of citrus with peanut, mungbean or soybean has a better effect on the citrus growth, compared to the intercropping with corn which suppresses the growth of citrus [12]. Legumes crops as intercrops have a better function in improving soil fertility compared to wheat and corn plants [3]. The highest yield of Nagpur mandarin orange of 20.0 tons/ha (72.3 kg tree-1) was achieved by intercropping soybeans with the orange crops [13]. ...
... The recommended rate for sweet potato was 60+0+0 kg NPK/ha while the recommended rate organic fertilizer (chicken compost) was three (3) tons per hectare (Otanes, et al., 2018). Mousavi et al., (2011) stated that intercropping is among the ways to increase diversity in an agricultural ecosystem. Crops yield increases with intercropping due to higher growth rate, reduction of weeds pests and diseases and more effective use of resources. ...
... The recommended rate for sweet potato was 60+0+0 kg NPK/ha while the recommended rate organic fertilizer (chicken compost) was three (3) tons per hectare (Otanes, et al., 2018). Mousavi et al., (2011) stated that intercropping is among the ways to increase diversity in an agricultural ecosystem. Crops yield increases with intercropping due to higher growth rate, reduction of weeds pests and diseases and more effective use of resources. ...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract – Agroforestry is the combination of agriculture and forestry practices within a farming system. It involves the combination of trees and crops that increase the environmental and economic value of land while sustaining food security. Among the agroforestry systems that would be an effective tool to solve land degradation, poverty and malnutrition is intercropping. Intercropping is a sustainable practice to increase diversity and productivity in farming system. High value agricultural crops like sweet potato and trees like mulberry applied with different fertilization strategies is an efficient intercropping system. This study was laid out in a 4 x 4 following the split plot RCB factorial design replicated three times. The following factors were tested: main plot (V1 – Seven Flores, V2 – Seri Kenya, V3 – Immitlog and V4 - Violeta) and subplot (F0 – No fertilizer application, F1 – RR 100% chicken compost, F2 – RR 100% urea and F3 – 50% RR chicken compost + 50% Urea). Results of the study revealed that as to the effect of sweet potato varieties, Immitlog variety had the highest yield of 6.97 kg per subplot and 55,766.67 kg per hectare. On the effect of fertilization strategies sweet potato plants applied with 50% RR chicken compost + 50% urea had produced the highest yield per subplot of 5.97 kg and 47,766.67 kg per hectare. There was no significant effect in between sweet potato varieties and fertilization strategies on yield of sweet potato as intercropped in mulberry trees. And the plants applied with 100% RR Urea and 100% RR Chicken Compost significantly influenced on the sugar content of the sweet potato tubers as intercropped in mulberry trees. Keywords: Sweet Potato Varieties, Mulberry, Fertilization Strategies, Yield and Performance
... Intercropping is defined as growing of two or more different crops together or one after the other on the same piece of land at the same time or season (Ofori and Stern 1987). There are four main types of intercroppping practiced in ESA, namely; a) mixed intercropping where two or more crops are grown without distinct row arrangement; b) row intercropping where the crops are grown in distinct rows randomly, or simultaneously with the first crop; c) strip intercropping where crops are grown in strips wide enough such that each crop grows independently from each other but also interacting erogonomically and d) relay intercropping where the second crop is grown after the first one has reached reproductive stage but not yet ready for harvesting (Mousavi and Eskandari 2011;Ofori and Stern 1987). The designs of the intercropping systems could be either substitutive or additive which ensures the productivity of the main crop is maintained (Giller 2001). ...
Chapter
The smallholder farming systems in eastern and southern Africa (ESA) depend on natural rainfall for crop and livestock production. However, climate change effects increasingly influence overall productivity in ESA smallholder farms. Prolonged dry spells have become more frequent which leads to moisture scarcity and low crop yields. Many cropping systems that are common in ESA are designed to maximize efficiency and productivity under optimum conditions. Hence, it is important to investigate potential cropping systems that are resilient to the impacts of climate change and promote conservation of resources in smallholder farms. One possible practice is intercropping cereals with different legume types. This has been traditionally used by farmers and has several benefits including reduced risk of total crop failure, more soil cover to protect the soil surface from direct sun and raindrop impact, improved resource use efficiency, reduced pests, diseases and weeds infestation and increased crop yield. Although intercropping different crop species has several benefits if properly combined in space and time, the crop mixtures practiced by farmers are not fully understood by researchers/scientists. Crops respond differently to environmental stress, and they have potential to complement each other. This review aims at providing an overview on the potential and setbacks of intercropping in maintaining crop yields in changing climate in smallholder farmers in ESA set-up.
... The recommended rate for sweet potato was 60+0+0 kg NPK/ha while the recommended rate organic fertilizer (chicken compost) was three (3) tons per hectare (Otanes, et al., 2018). Mousavi et al., (2011) stated that intercropping is among the ways to increase diversity in an agricultural ecosystem. Crops yield increases with intercropping due to higher growth rate, reduction of weeds pests and diseases and more effective use of resources. ...
Article
Full-text available
YIELD & SUGAR PERFORMANCE OF SWEET POTATO (Ipomoea batatas L.) VARIETIES TO FERTILIZATION STRATEGIES AS INTERCROPPED IN MULBERRY TREES
... Several studies have shown that the use of leguminous crops promote biodiversity not only below ground but also aboveground. The number of beneficial faunal groups such as lady beetles (Coccinella ssp.), ground beetles (Calleida ssp.), lacewings (Chrysoperla ssp.) and minute pirate bugs (Orius ssp.) increase and keep insects and other pests in equilibrium (Jaipal et al., 2002;Mhlanga et al., 2020;Mousavi and Eskandari, 2011). ...
Article
Increasing threats of climate change and soil fertility decline enhance the risk of crop failure for smallholder farmers in southern Africa. The quest is to find cropping systems that provide yield stability while being sustainable. One of the strategies to use is intercropping legumes in maize-based Conservation Agriculture systems. Here, we present results of a three-year study in on-farm and on-station trials of Zimbabwe. We tested sole cropping compared to intercropping with different grain legumes and green manures as well as fertilizer application (in the case of on-station trials) on associated crop yields, total system yield, and yield stability. As methods, we used mixed modelling, best linear unbiased predictors estimation and additive main effects and multiplicative interaction analysis to analyse the data. The results show that intercropping systems with the selected legumes resulted in yield penalties. However, on-station sites showed maize/pigeonpea intercropping to be comparable to the sole maize in maize grain and biomass yield and to be superior in total system yield (108 GJ ha⁻¹ vs. 74 GJ ha⁻¹). Comparison of intercropping against sole cropping revealed that sole maize out-yielded all intercropping strategies in all environments on-farm while the maize/pigeon intercropping strategy out-yielded sole maize in almost all environments on-station. In general, total system yield of intercrops out-yielded sole maize in most environments signifying the ability of intercrops to enhance cropping system yields. Stability analysis on-farm showed that intercropping with cowpea and jack bean was more stable compared to sole maize as a result of better systems performance across the environments. On-station, the maize/pigeonpea intercropping strategy was in general the most stable. We conclude that intercropping is a viable option for smallholder farmers. However, there is need to investigate other crop arrangements to reduce competition for both maize and the intercrop and double-row strip cropping may be an option.
... Obviamente, las metas en los programas y políticas nacionales son incrementar la productividad por unidad de superficie sin ampliar la frontera agrícola (Ekboir et al., 2003;Norton, 2004). En contraposición, diversas evaluaciones de eficiencias productivas en tiempo y espacio han demostrado que los policultivos y la silvicultura superan a los monocultivos, principalmente en los sistemas de producción tradicionales o familiares (Andersen et al., 2007;Malézieux et al., 2009;Bedoussac y Justes, 2011;Mousavi y Eskandari, 2011;Neamatollahi et al., 2013). Aun cuando los monocultivos de exportación crecen en superficie cultivada, la pequeña agricultura campesina o familiar de sistemas mixtos de producción aporta más de la mitad de los alimentos que se consumen en Latinoamérica (Altieri et al., 2014;CEPAL, FAO e IICA, 2013). ...
... Intercropping patterns generally categorized into four types: Mixed intercropping, row intercropping, strip intercropping and relay intercropping (Vandermeer, 1989). Mixed intercrop :is the growing of two or more crops simultaneously in the same field without following any distinct row arrangement or grown together in the same row without any distinct sequence; row intercropping is the growing of two or more crops simultaneously where at least of the crops is planted in rows, where the other crops may be grown in rows or randomly with the first one; strip intercropping is the methods of "growing two or more crops simultaneously in different strips wide enough to permit independent cultivation but narrow enough for the crops to interact agronomically; relay intercropping is the growing of two or more crops simultaneously during part of the life cycle of each where the second crop is planted when the first crop is at its reproductive stage but before the maturity (Mousavi and Eskandari, 2011). ...
... Intercropping offers potential benefits relative to monoculture by increasing yield through the effective use of resources, including water, nutrients, solar energy (Morris and Garrity, 1993;Nasri et al., 2014). Diversity in the farming system is also expanded, which in turn brings stability (Mousavi and Eskandari et al., 2011), reduces the incidence of diseases (Eskandari, 2012), improves soil fertility (Lithourgidis et al., 2011;Swer and Dkhar, 2014), sustains productivity (Ünlü et al., 2010;Gao et al., 2014) and enhances weed and insect control (Saudy and El-Metwally, 2009;Mitku et al., 2014;Uddin and Adewale, 2014). Most importantly, food security can be achieved (Ouma and Jeruto, 2010), which is essential since wheat is the breadbasket of much of the Asian subcontinent (Hossain and Teixeira da Silva, 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
The world's population is increasing rapidly, and in order to feed it, one of the most attractive strategies is to increase productivity per unit area of available land or to increase the land area under production, which seems shrinking day by day. Therefore, to maximize land use and production, the ultimate goal of agriculture, namely yield, intercropping is an advanced agronomic technique that allows two or more crops to yield from the same area of land. Better utilization of resources and reduced weed competition minimize the risk of food shortages by enhancing yield stability. Several factors can affect intercropping: plant density, sowing time, the maturity of a crop, the selection of crop that is compatible with another as well as farmers' and the region's socioeconomic conditions. In intercropping, the land equivalent ratio (LER) is used to measure the productivity of land. Since wheat is the most important cereal around the world and is most suitable for intercropping, this review focuses on wheat-based intercropping.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Food security has always been a key issue in agriculture sector and it has become even more crucial in recent decades due the decreasing of available resources and climate change. Maize is one of the important and popular grain in the world. It is a major source of carbohydrates not just for human but also livestock. Therefore, it is important to identify planting practice that will improve the maize yield and quality. A field experiment was carried out to identify ideal fertilization application method and rate for optimal maize yield under biotic farming condition (chemical free). Bio-fertilizer (N:P:K 5:5:5) was applied with broadcasting and furrow method at application rate: 1, 2, 3 and 4 tons ha-1 at three replications (n=48). The plant growth performance of maize was evaluated based on plant height, number of leaves, stem diameter, corn weight, cob length and thousand-kernel mass. Results suggested no significant difference between broadcast and furrow methods on plant height, number of leaves, stem diameter, corn weight, cob length and thousand-kernel mass. In terms of fertilizer application rate, no significant difference observed on plant height, number of leaves and stem diameter, except for cob length, corn weight and thousand-kernel mass. The overall results showed fertilizer method using furrow application at 3 tons ha-1 is the ideal practice for optimal yield under biotic farming condition. In summary, application rate has a significant impact on cob quality disregards whether is broadcast or furrow method.
Article
Full-text available
Cereals grown for forage are increasing in importance in the rations of ruminants in the UK and have the potential to supply high proportions of energy-rich forage in their diets. However, such diets usually require some degree of protein supplementation. Crop mixtures, generally referred to as intercrops, have the potential to boost the forage protein content of diets as well as having a number of agronomic benefits. In this paper, the growth and utilization of annual intercrops is reviewed with particular reference, where feasible, to temperate regions. General agronomic and feeding issues associated with cereal intercrops are outlined together with the practicalities of field-scale management of intercrops in highly mechanized systems. A number of cereal-based intercrop combinations are also considered, concentrating specifically on their value for forage production. The future potential for different combinations is discussed and research recommendations made.
Article
Full-text available
A field experiment was carried out in Ramhormoz, Iran during the 2008-2009 growing season to investigate the effects of different planting pattern of intercropping on environmental resource consumption and weed biomass. A randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications was employed to compare the treatments. Treatments included maize sole crop (M), cow pea sole crop (C), within row intercropping (I1), row intercropping (I2) and mix cropping (I3). The density of intercropping was according to replacement design (one maize replaced by three cow pea plants). The results showed that environmental resource consumption was significantly (P≤0.05) affected by cropping system, where PAR interception, moisture and nutrients uptake were higher in intercropping systems compared to sole crop systems. Regarding to weed control, intercrops were more effective than sole crops and it was related to lower availability of environmental resources for weeds in intercropping systems.
Article
Full-text available
Cereals are high important in feeding ruminant animals for their high dry matter production and low cost. However, cereals forage is poor in protein content which shows their low quality and nutritive value. Regarding to high feed costs of protein supplementations, legumes can be used in livestock nutrition for their high protein content and, thus, providing cost saving. Since legumes have low dry matter yield, acceptable forage yield and quality can obtained from intercropping of cereals and legumes compared with their sole crops. In this paper, forage quality indicators and different factors affecting forage quality are discussed. Forage production and quality of different cereals-legumes intercropping are also reviewed, where; different legumes had different effect on forage quality when intercropped with specific cereal. Regarding to forage quality and quantity, different cereals also led to different production of forage. A number of factors which must be noticified in selecting cereal-legume intercropping compositions, especially for forage production, were considered.
Article
Full-text available
An experiment was carried out in 2003 to investigate the effect of intercropping on light interception, nutrient uptake and forage quality of cow pea. A randomized complete block design (RCB) with three replications was employed to compare the treatments, including cow pea sole crop (Cp), corn sole crop (C), alternate-row intercropping (M1), within-row intercropping (M2) and mixed intercropping (M3). The intercrop composition was based on replacement design, where one corn was replaced by three cow pea plants. The results indicated that PAR (photosyntheticaly active radiation) interception and nutrient uptake were improved by intercropping. Cow pea was more competitive than corn in absorbing divalent cations (Ca and Mg) for its high root cation exchange capacity. However, corn was more competitive than cow pea for phosphorus and potassium. Forage quality of cow pea in terms of crude protein was decreased in intercropping compared to its sole crop. It was related to reduction of biological nitrogen fixation induced by low PAR and phosphorus availability for cow pea in intercropping.
Chapter
Publisher Summary This chapter describes the biological efficiencies in multiple-cropping systems. Many multiple-cropping systems persist on farms on which resources are limited and the level of new technology is low. Intensive cropping systems, often with mixtures of species, have reached high yield levels using pesticides, improved cultivars, and other high-input technology in countries such as China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand. Multiple cropping of cereals, grain legumes, and root crops forms the basis of farming systems for many subsistence farmers in the developing world. The most intensive use of time and space occurs with the simultaneous or near-simultaneous plantings of two or more crops. Detailed growth analysis and measurement of resource use are being used to broaden the knowledge base on competition and productivity. Double cropping, which includes two crops in the field in a sequential pattern, provides opportunity for much greater temporal interception of total radiation through the year compared to any single crop, unless that one crop has an extremely long growth cycle. Pest management in multiple-cropping systems is also elaborated.
Article
An experiment was carried out in 2010 to investigate the effect of intercropping on forage quality and quantity. Maize sole cropped and its intercropping with cowpea and mungbean in replacement and additive design were compared in RCBD in three replications. The results showed that intercropping systems had a significant effect on the dry matter yield, crude protein (CP) yield, neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) concentration. The CP yield and dry matter of produced forage increased by intercropping as compared with the maize monoculture. Intercropping of legumes with maize significantly reduced NDF and ADF content, resulting increased forage digestibility. In all intercropping treatments, land equivalent ratios (LER) were well above 1 indicating yield advantages for intercropping. It can be concluded that maize-legumes intercrops could substantially increase forage quantity and quality and decrease requirements for protein supplements as compared with the maize monocultures. KEY WORDS: Acid detergent fiber (ADF), crude protein, forage production, multiple cropping, neutral detergent fiber (NDF).
Article
In the Mediterranean area, most annual legumes, such as common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) that have a scrambling habit, are sown with oat (Avena sativa L.) to improve growing conditions and forage harvesting. Although some studies have examined the effects of varying seeding ratios, the optimum seeding rates for those combinations are not well-defined. The objective of this study was to compare the yields from mixed stands of vetch (principal species) and oat (secondary species) obtained when several seeding rates of vetch were combined with various seeding ratios of the two species. A field study was conducted at two locations near Madrid in the 1981–1982 and 1982–1983 growing seasons. Both species were planted as monocrops and in mixtures. Ratios of the number of vetch to oat seed were 100:0; 90:10; 80:20; 70:30 and 60:40. Within each mixture, seeding rates of vetch were 60, 80, 100 and 120 kg ha−1. The oat monocrop was seeded at 140 kg ha−1. Plants were harvested at the pod-setting stage of vetch. Relative yield total (RYT) calculated as the sum of the relative dry matter yields of both species was used as the criterion for mixed stand advantage.Mixtures produced 34% more dry matter than the monocrop of vetch, but 57% less than the oat monocrop. Dry matter yields of mixtures were not affected by seeding ratio or seeding rate of vetch but proportions of vetch dry matter decreased linearly as the percentage of oat seed in the mixture increased. The net effect of oat in the mixture was a linear increase in competition as oat density increased. Relative yield totals of mixtures with 90:10 or 80:20 ratios of vetch:oat seed exceeded unity.
Article
Nitrogen-fixing legumes are commonly intercropped with various non-N-fixing crops in the tropics. Little information is available on the quantitative estimation of the effect of competition by a non-legume on the N fixing ability of the associated legume in an intercrop. Our primary objectives were therefore to assess the effects of different densities of intercropped barley (Hordeum vulgare. L.) on the amount or proportion of N fixed by fababeans (Vicia faba, var. minor L.) and also to examine whether fixed N was transferred from the legume to barley. The proportion of N fixed by fababeans, and N uptake from soil and fertilizer by fababeans and barley were distinguished by the use of 15N-labelled urea. Compared to the sole crop, the dry matter yield and total N in the intercropped fababeans were reduced and consequently there was a slight reduction in the quantity of N fixed in the presence of barley. However. the proportion of the N in fababeans that was derived from fixation was significantly increased in the intercropped system. Although the sole crop fababeans absorbed more soil N than sole barley, this was reversed in the intercrop. Increasing the competition for soil N through increased plant population densities of either fababeans in the sole crop or barley in the intercrop resulted in substantial increases in the proportion of N in fababeans derived from fixation. This density effect was much greater with intercropped barley than that induced through increased fababeans density. There was no evidence that fixed N was transferred from fababeans to barley in this study.
Article
The challenge for agriculture over the coming decades will be to meet the world's increasing demand for food in a sustainable way. Declining soil fertility and mismanagement of plant nutrients have made this task more difficult. In this brief, Peter Gruhn, Francesco Goletti, and Montague Yudelman point out that as long as agriculture remains a soil-based industry, major increases in productivity are unlikely to be attained without ensuring that plants have an adequate and balanced supply of nutrients. They call for an Integrated Nutrient Management approach to the management of plant nutrients for maintaining and enhancing soil, where both natural and man-made sources of plant nutrients are used. The key components of this approach are described; the roles and responsibilities of various actors, including farmers and institutions, are delineated; and recommendations for improving the management of plant nutrients and soil fertility are presented.