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Potato in Different Cropping Systems

Potato in Different Cropping Systems

Potato may be grown in different types of cropping systems, ego as intercrop, companion crop and relay crop. These may be described as under.

1. Relay cropping system                                 

In relay cropping system, potato is very often relay cropped with cucurbits, coriander, barley, maize, etc. about 45-50 days after sowing of potato crop. The success of this cropping system would depend upon the following management factors.

1. The crop selected for relay cropping should be slow growing.

2. The relay crop must be sown when potato has almost completed the vegetative growth and only tuber bulking is left.

3. Sowing of the relay crop should not disturb the potato crop.

4. Management practices such as irrigation, plant protection measures required for relay crop should not be harmful to potato crop.

2. Intercropping system

After earthing-up operation the potatoes are often intersown with wheat in furrows. Maize can also be inter- cropped with potato in the same way. The intercrop usually improves the economics and acts as a safeguard if potato is attacked by frost or severe attack of late blight prematurely. The intercropping practice would be quite suitable if an erect growing variety of potato such as Kufri Alankar is chosen for the intercropping pattern.

Many variations of the intercropping system are possible like wheat seed may be broadcasted in every alternate furrow instead of in every furrow in order to minimize the shading effect on both the crops. The space between two rows of wheat left after digging of potato tubers could be filled up either with transplanted wheat or onion or with maize, coriander, etc.

3. Companion cropping

Potato can be sown as companion crop in case of autumn planted sugarcane where two rows of potato can be taken between two rows of sugarcane.

A companion cropping with mustard, wheat and barley can be done very effectively without much reduction in tuber yield and with additional profit. In this type of planting, the seed tubers of fourth rows are planted in three rows by reducing plant to plant distance and fourth row is used for sowing of mustard. But if barley, maize or wheat are to be sown as companion crop, then in every alternate furrow of potato any of these crop can be sown after an earthing up of potato (25 days after potato sowing).

Success of intercropping or companion cropping would depend upon the following management factors.

1. The crop selected for intercropping or companion cropping must be compatible. This involves considerations of canopy and rooting characteristics of the crop and their relative crop growth. Crops of different growth rates, duration and rooting habits but of similar canopy characteristics would appear to be more compatible than others.

2. The planting or sowing time or spacing of the crop should be suitably adjusted to prevent smothering effect of the aggressive crop on the weaker crop as far as possible.

3. The irrigation requirements of the companion crops i should be more or less the same. If one of the crops has higher water needs, the other crop should be such that it is not adversely affected when irrigation is scheduled to the former.

4. The fertilizer needs must be assured for each crop in as much as the intercropping should be reckoned as a measure for saving the space and effective use of land area, but not as a measure of economy on inputs in terms of fertilizers, etc.

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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.