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Intercropping Systems in Sugarcane


Intercropping Systems in sugarcane

    Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same field is known as intercropping/companion cropping. Crop intensification is in both temporal and spatial dimensions. Until recent years, sugarcane crop was cultivated as a single crop. But rapidly increasing population, insufficient food, limited scope for extension of cultivation to new areas, diversified needs of small farmers for food and cash etc. have forced the adoption of intercropping systems.

    Much of the space between two rows of sugarcane remains unutilized for an initial period of 100-120 days, because of slow growth. Companion cropping offers opportunity for profitable utilization of available space.

    The crops suitable for companion cropping should have following characteristics:

1.    The duration of intercrop should be less than 4 months to avoid contention with sugarcane.

2.    Intercropping should not be competitive with the main crop in respect of sunlight, air, water and nutrients.

3.    The growth habit of intercrop should be erect type and should have dissimilar root system.

4.    The intercrop should no0t host insect and diseases which might affect sugarcane adversely.

           Maximum cane yield cane be obtained when potato/ onion is grown as a companion crops with autumn planted sugarcane, followed by potato/wheat, toria/onion. The best crops identified with spring planted sugarcane were moonbeam and urdbean. Mungbean, Sunflower or Soybean as an intercropping sugarcane field has been found to be profitable.

   Suitable crop combinations:

    Most successfully adopted combinations are given as under -

1.    Sugarcane + Early potato (K. Chandramukhi)- Onion (Kalyanpur red).

2.    Sugarcane + Early Potato- Whaeat (K 816).

3.    Sugarcane + Toria (T.9)-Onion.

4.    Sugarcane+ Early Potato/Vegetable Pea-Barley (Jyoti)



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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.