Intercropping and Mixed Cropping


Intercropping and mixed cropping

Schedules for inter/mixed cropping may be drawn up based on the canopy size, age and spacing of palms. In general, palms in the age group of 8-25 years are not suitable for inter and mixed cropping. However, cereals and tapioca are recommended as intercrops in young coconut plantation up to 3-4 years. Since ginger and turmeric are shade tolerant crops with shallow roots, they can be intercropped in coconut garden even in the age group of 15-25 years. It ensures better land utilization, solar energy harvesting, efficient water use, utilization of soil nutrient resources, more returns and an insurance against crop failure. Under conditions of wider spacing i.e. beyond 7.6 m, intercropping is possible irrespective of the age of the palms.

Intercrops recommended

The following crops are recommended as intercrops.
Cereals: Rice, maize
Legumes and pulses: Groundnut, horse gram, cowpea
Tubers: Tapioca, sweet potato, yams, colocasia
Spices and condiments: Ginger, turmeric, chilly, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove
Fruit plants: Banana, pineapple, papaya. (Banana variety Palayankodan is recommended in the reclaimed soils of Kuttanad. Three suckers per clump have to be retained).
Beverage crop: Cocoa
Fodder grasses: Hybrid Napier, guinea grass
In all cases, separate application of adequate fertilizers and manures to the individual crop is essential.

Crop cafeteria for multiple cropping Perennials: Cocoa, nutmeg, pepper, clove, lemongrass and cinnamon.
(a) Kharif: Rice, maize, groundnut, ginger, turmeric, chilli, yams, colocasia, red gram, vegetables, sweet potato, tapioca, banana, pineapple, papaya and fodder grass.
(b) Rabi: Sesame, horse gram, red gram, vegetables, cowpea, sweet potato and banana.
(c) Summer: Vegetables
References Kerala Agricultural University. 2011. Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops. 14th edition. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur- 360 p.