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Intercropping: Criteria, Advantages and Disadvantages of Intercropping

Criteria of intercrops selection for intercropping

  •      The leguminous crops and vegetables should be grown as intercrop in the young orchard.
  •         The shade loving crops such as elephant foot and turmeric should be preferred to cultivate in a full grown bearing orchard.
  •        The water requirement of the intercrops should coincide with the water need fruit plants.
  •         The vegetables are the better choice for the orchards which are nearer to cities or towns.
  •       The perennial, exhaustive and robust growing crops should not be selected as an intercrop in the orchard.
  •        The legumes are the better choice as an intercrop in the orchard established on neglected or poor fertile soil.
  •        The tomato, onion, cauliflower, beans, radish, palak, cowpea, guar, pea, chickpea, lentil, mustard, brinjal, pumpkin, cucumber, lady’s finger and seed spices can be grown as intercrop in young orchards.
  •        The ginger, zimikand, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, peach, plum, guava, papaya, karonda, can be grown as intercrop in old orchards.
  •        The crops have shallow and fibrous roots should be preferred as intercrops.
Advantages of intercropping
1.     It gives additional income from the orchard even during the pre-bearing stage of the main fruit crop.
2.     It prevents soil erosion when cover crops are grown as intercrops.
3.     It suppresses the weed growth.
4.     It is an effective means of proper land and space utilization.
5.     It enhances the biodiversity and stability in the farming system.
6.     It improves the soil fertility.
7.     It provides microclimate favourable for main fruit crops.
Disadvantages of intercropping
1.     Intercrops compete with the main crop for nutrients, water, and light.
2.     Intercropping is a labour intensive farm activity.
3.     Intercrops can limit the use of machines in orchard management practices.

4.     Intercropping requires very timely field operations.

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