What is Intercropping? Complete Guide

Whether you’re growing crops or vegetables in your garden, intercropping can be an excellent method to keep your plants healthy. The goal of intercropping is to make sure that your plants have the best chance of getting the sun, water, and nutrients they need to grow. There are several methods of intercropping, including replanting, mixed intercropping, and relay planting.

Relay planting

Compared to sole crops, relay intercropping systems provide a higher crop yield and net income. This is due to the fact that relay intercropping is more advantageous in terms of yield stability. Aside from the benefits that relay intercropping can bring, it also reduces costs and inputs. This is especially beneficial in regions where the growing season is short.

The average LER of a relay cropping system was 1.53 in T1 to T3, which is better than the LER of a sole crop. The higher the LER of a relay cropping system, the higher the monetary advantage will be. The LER of a relay cropping system increases with the increasing gap width between maize and soybean rows.

The wide gap between soybean and maize rows was a good way to boost soybean yield. The relay-intercropping system also accelerated dry matter production of intercropped species. In addition, it improved the micro-climate and the light environment for both soybean and maize.

The leaf area index of the soybean plant planted under the relay-intercropping treatment T1 was higher than the same plant planted under the sole-maize system. The leaf area index is a measure of the amount of green leaf area and is a commonly used tool to evaluate the productivity of plants.

The same effect is found with the use of the narrow-wide row planting arrangement. This arrangement has the potential to increase the RUE of the soybean and the competitiveness of the soybean. The planting arrangement also has the potential to improve the radiation use efficiency of the crop.

The competition ratio is a measure of the level of competition between the different intercrop species. It is measured by a given equation. The best value for the competition ratio was P1 (20:180). The highest LER of a relay-intercropping system was obtained under this treatment. This was attributed to the high yield of the soybean plant and the higher leaf area index.

The maize/soybean relay-intercropping system is a good example of a hybrid system. It enables farmers to obtain higher yields while producing reduced inputs.

Mixed intercropping

Traditionally, mixed intercropping involves growing two crops in the same space. This is an advanced agronomic technique and offers several benefits. However, more research is needed to understand its efficacy. It may also face some challenges.

Using multiple crops is a way to boost yield and biodiversity while limiting weed infestations and agricultural pest outbreaks. It also ensures higher productivity and provides employment opportunities. In addition, contrasting crops can be recommended for areas with a lot of seasonal variation.

Despite its popularity, mixed intercropping is not well understood from a scientific perspective. In fact, much more research is needed to develop better intercropping systems.

It’s also worth noting that mixed cropping doesn’t always equate to greater yield. This is because different crop varieties and weather conditions will affect the amount of production.

One of the most notable benefits of intercropping is that it reduces the risk of crop failure. It’s also possible to increase the nutrient content of the soil by planting a mixture of plants that produce different quantities.

Unlike traditional farming practices, intercropping requires seeds to be planted in a variety of rows. This results in more hand labor. It’s also more complicated to manage than a sole crop.

In some regions, this can increase the nutrient content of the soil, which helps maintain its fertility. Other benefits include increased crop diversity, and the use of different fertilizers for each harvest. It may also be less polluting than monocropping.

The best results were achieved with the narrow row sowing design. In this technique, 14 plants were sown per row, and one row of mung bean was sown in the center.

Other types of intercropping include strip and row. Both involve alternating rows of a crop species with a different species. This may be necessary for some crops, such as ginger. Alternatively, it can be beneficial for both plants. Regardless of the method, it’s a good idea to consider the environment before making your selection.

Although the science of mixed intercropping isn’t entirely clear, the benefits have proven to be well worth the effort. A more productive and diverse agricultural system can improve the food supply to a population that is rapidly growing.


Several thousand acres of chickpea and flax intercrop have been adopted across Canada. The combination has been shown to increase harvestability and reduce Ascochyta blight disease pressure. However, there are several factors to consider when planting an intercrop.

The first thing to remember is that chickpeas and flax plants have similar shapes. They both have upright stalks and are narrow. These traits make them ideal for drought stress. However, they also provide competition for water and light. A chickpea plant will continue to set seed and flower as long as there is moisture available. This can delay their maturity. In order to prevent the plant from doing so, it is important to ensure they are dry before separating them.

Chickpea-flax intercropping has been used on hundreds of acres in North Dakota and Montana. In addition, farmers have reported reduced fungicide applications for Ascochyta blight. Using a weed control agent prior to planting can help prevent weeds from growing in the field. Then, when the harvest is complete, the crop can be separated.

Flax and chickpeas can be stored together before being separated. As a result, the harvesting process can be faster. If the harvest is late in the season, there may be a need to desiccate the crop.

The first step is to ensure that the soil is dry enough to store the flax and chickpeas. A pre-harvest glyphosate application can be helpful. A straw mulch can increase yield by 11-17%. It is also a good idea to mix rows. This will give you a chance to experiment and tweak the crop.

Currently, researchers are working to develop agronomic systems for flax-chickpea intercropping in Saskatchewan. The study is funded through a federal-provincial cost-shared Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The research will include testing chickpea cultivars for their compatibility with flax. It will also include field studies at two MSU research farms. Then, the researchers will analyze the economics of intercropping systems. Finally, they will look at the role of canopy microclimate and seeding rate.

The results of the research will show how to plant two crops together and identify chickpea cultivars that are competitive with flax. In addition, the project will look at seeding rates and row configurations.


Among the advantages of wheat-pea intercropping is its ability to provide ecosystem benefits. It is believed that intercropping can increase soil biodiversity, improve soil health, reduce weed growth, and enhance natural enemies. It also helps to reduce pest damage. In addition, it may help to improve pathogen control and decrease reliance on pesticides.

To evaluate the ecological effects of wheat-pea intercropping, field experiments were conducted at Gembloux, Belgium. The study evaluated the pre-crop, growing season, and post-crop effects of mixed intercropping on the ecological functions of wheat, pea, and generalist predators. The results indicated that mixed intercropping had a positive effect on the activity density of generalist predators. The results also showed that the interaction between species was significant.

The mean pLERs of wheat and pea in the trial were 1.75 and 1.53 t ha-1, respectively. The pLERs of both crops were higher than the expected pLERs. This could be attributed to increased competitiveness of the wheat. However, the pLERs of wheat and pea were closely associated with LERs.

In the study, the kernels per ear and harvest index (HI) of the pea cultivar “Kolompos” were higher in the mixture than in the monocultures. The kernels per ear of the “Nemere” were lower.

The HI of the pea cultivar “Toborzo” was not significantly different from the monoculture. The HI of the wheat cultivars “Karizma” and “Elit CCP” were significantly lower. The total mixture yield was much lower than the yield of the sole pea crop. The net return of the pea was very low in the year of the study.

Leaf senescence played a significant role in the experiments. It accounted for 86% of the variation in the nitrogen utilization efficiency of wheat. Compared to the sole wheat, the energy consumed per ton of harvested grains was two to three times higher in the mixed intercrop. The addition of peas to the wheat decreased the AUNGLA. It also reduced foliar diseases.

The mixed intercropping system had a positive effect on the subsequent crop. It helped maintain the concentration of wheat grain protein. It also allowed maintaining the wheat gross margin.

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