Inter Cropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land with definite row arrangementor in a fixed ratio. It was originally practiced as an insurance against crop failure under drained conditions. Intercroppingsystems utilizes resources efficiently and their productivity is increased.
Example: – Maize + Cowpea, Potato + Mustard, Groundnut + Redgram.
Advantages of intercropping:
- Better use of growth resources including light, nutrients and water
- Suppression of weeds
- Yield stability; even if one crop fails due to unforeseen situations, another crop willyield and gives income
- Successful intercropping gives higher equivalent yields (yield of base crop + yield ofintercrop), higher cropping intensity
- Reduced pest and disease incidences
- Improvement of soil health and agro-ecosystem
- Intercropping of compatible plants also encourages biodiversity, by providing a habitatfor a variety of insects and soil organisms that would not be present in a single-crop environment. This inturn can help limit outbreaks of crop pests by increasing predator biodiversity.
- Additionally, reducing the homogeneity of the crop increases the barriers against biological dispersal of pestorganisms through the crop.