Intercropping

By: organicfarmingblog , 7:05 PM GMT on February 26, 2013

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Intercropping Intercropping
Intercropping is one of the best techniques in organic farming. It is a systematic process of growing two or more crops simultaneously and at the same time build soil fertility. It is also an ecological method for pest control, diseases and weeds by using natural competitive principles which greatly contributes to a high quality intercrop products.

Aside from generating higher income per unit area, it can also act as a support to failure of crop in abnormal season. Since we grow two or more crops at the same time, intercropping can produce greater yield on a specific piece of land by utilizing available resources as compared to a single crop.

In order to achieve this process, we need to meticulously plan and consider the soil, climate and varieties. It is essential for us to know that we cannot have crops compete with each other in terms of physical space, water, sunlight or land. With the right crop, other agronomic benefits can also be obtained.

Intercropping of compatible plants can also support biodiversity. It can produce a habitat for insects and soil organism that cannot be found in a single crop environment. As a result, it can diminish the occurrence of crop pests by increasing predator biodiversity and eliminating the homogeneity of the crop.

 

Types of Intercropping


  1. Mixed Intercropping – is the most common type where two or more crops are mixed simultaneously in an open space without any specific arrangement.

  2. Row Intercropping – is a process that requires arrangement of planting crops by row. This may be classified as alley cropping where crops are planted in between rows of trees; and strip cropping where crops are grown alternately from multiple rows of one crop to another.

  3. Strip Intercropping – is a mechanized agricultural practice where multiple crops are planted in narrow, adjacent strips that allow contact between different species and at the same time allows management with the modern equipment. The purpose of which is to reduce erosion.

  4. Relay Intercropping – growing two crops in a sequential manner where the second crop is planted during the growth of the first crop. This way, the first crop is harvested to make way for the second crop to develop.



 

Benefits of Intercropping

  1. Increase yield per land area.

  2. Lesser competition

  3. Improved division of resources by species of plants.

  4. Stable production with an increased variety of crops in particular land area.

  5. Risk-free from any environmental extremes

  6. Resources are maximized for the production of crops.

  7. Enhanced pest control management.

  8. It improves soil quality, physical support for vine crops and maintains genetic diversity.


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