- These are the basic four methods commonly employed. Sometimes they involve annual grains and vegetables, such as the mixed intercropping classic of corn, beans and squash. Sometimes there are perennial species with annual crops growing amongst them, say perennial garlic and basil with annual tomatoes. Perennials also work well with other perennials.
- In parts of the tropics, bananas, papayas, coffee, vanilla and cacao make a crackerjack intercropping.
- It’s the growing of two or more crops at the same time with at least one crop planted in rows.
- In farms growing perennial crops, annual crops like corn, rice and pineapple are commonly grown as intercrop between the rows of the main crop.
- This strategy is an efficient way of maximizing the use of farmland by utilizing vacant spaces while at the same time suppressing the growth of weeds during the juvenile stage of the main crop.
- It’s the growing of two or more crops together in strips wide enough to allow separate production of crops using mechanical implements, but close enough for the crops to interact.
- Examples of successful strip intercropping practices in the United States are: alternating strips of wheat, corn and soybean 6 rows wide each; and another one can be 6 rows of corn with 12 rows of soybean.
- In this type, two or more crops are mixed together, seeded together, and harvested together.
- Examples of mixed intercropping of annual crops are the practice of growing corn, bean and squash in Central America and forage sorghum with silage corn in Oregon.
- It’s a system in which a second crop is planted into an existing crop when it has flowered but before harvesting.
- There is thus a minimum temporal overlap of two or more crops. The relay crop should be fairly tolerant to shade and trampling.
- Examples of relay crops are cassava, cotton, sweet potato and sesban with corn; chickpea, lentil and wheat with upland rice.
Benefits of Intercropping
- Greater Income, Greater Yield
- Insurance against Crop Damage
- Optimum Use of Soil
- Good for Primary Crops
Difference between Intercropping and Crop Rotation
- Intercropping and crop rotation are not the same thing. In that sense, intercropping requires that different types of plants are grown in the same space at the same time.
- On the other hand, crop rotation is the concept of growing different types of plants in the same space at different times. In crop rotation, the plants don’t necessarily need to be good companions in the same way.