The practice of cultivating two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land is called mixed cropping. During mixed cropping, if one crop faces adverse conditions or pathogen attack then the other crop can be saved.The basic objective in mixed cropping is to minimize the risk and insure against the crop failure due to abnormal weather conditions. Eg wheat + mustard, groundnut+ sunflower etc.
Criteria for the selection of crops during mixed cropping:
- Crops should have different maturation time.
- Both crops should have different water requirements.
- The nutrient requirement of one crop should be lesser than the other.
- If one crop is deep rooted, the other has shallow roots.
- If one crop is tall, other should be dwarf.
Advantages of mixed cropping:
- Increase in yield
- Optimum utilization of soil
- Minimum pest infestation
- No risk of crop failure
- Farmers can harvest varieties of produce at the same time
The practice of growing two or more crops simultaneously in a same field in definite row pattern is called intercropping. The row pattern may be in the ratio of 1:1, 1:2, and 1:3. It means after one row of main crop, one, two, or three rows of intercrops can be grown.
Objective of intercropping: The basic objective in intercropping is to increase the productivity per unit area.
Advantages of intercropping:
- It helps to maintain the soil fertility.
- It makes better use of resources.
- It economizes space and time of cultivation of two or more crops.
- Each group can be harvested, threshed and marketed separately.
- Since the seeds of the two crops not mixed before sowing, fertilizers can be placed as per the need of the crops.