After completing this Lesson, you have learned to answer:
Adverse weather conditions like delay in the onset of rains and/or failure of rains for few days to weeks some time or other during the crop period is very common in the rainfed pearl millet growing areas.Such situation results in economic losses to the farmers due to the partial or total failure of pearl millet crop. To over come this situation there is need to adopt or follow pearl millet based cropping systems like intercropping or mixed cropping in rainfed pearl millet growing areas.
Intercropping refers to growing more than one crop in the same land area in rows of definite proportion and pattern.
Pearl millet-Groundnut Sorghum-Pigeonpea
With particular reference to dry land agriculture, an intercropping system needs to be designed in such a way that in the case of unfavorable weather, at least one crop will survive to give economic yields. Thus, intercropping system should provide for the necessary insurance against unpredictable weather. In case the year happens to be normal with respect to rainfall, the intercropping system, as a whole, should prove to be more profitable than growing either of the crops alone.
An ideal intercropping should aim to:
The following intercropping practices were found to be remunerative than sole crop of pearl millet even under drought or more than normal rainfall in AP.
Pearl millet + Red gram (pigeonpea) 2:1 ratio
Pearl millet + Groundnut 2:4 ratio
Pearl millet + Soybean 4:2 ratio
Pearl millet + Sunflower 4:2 ratio
(2:1 ratio indicates 2 rows of pearl millet and one row of the other crop)
Pearl millet and Groundnut intercropping system is recommended to farmers to meet the fodder needs of cattle and milch animals.
While maintaining the yield levels of the sole crop of pearl millet, additional yields with the intercropping component have been realized under various systems. Since a food legume is involved in most of the systems, it will not only enhance the income of the farmer, but would also provide with the much-needed protein to supplement the predominantly cereal diet of farmers.
Intercropping and Mixed Cropping Practices
Mixed cropping refers to simultaneously growing more than one crop in the same land area as a mixture.
Unlike in intercropping system, in mixed cropping the crops are grown without any definite proportion or pattern.
Mixed cropping of pearl millet-pigeonpea is most common. Mixtures with green gram (mung), black gram (urid), cowpea and even with sorghum and other cereals, vegetables, etc. during kharif are practiced under different situations.
Mixed cropping is practiced in traditional subsistence farming to meet the domestic needs of the farmer's family. Thus, the number of crops grown mixed varies depending on the family needs.
Can you identify the number and name of the crops in this field?
Even though crops in the mixed cropping meets the farmer’s family needs, the yield of crops will be very low due to the competition between the crops for water, light, nutrients etc. A better cropping system will be adopting intercropping system involving the major crops. However, the crop plants required to meet the family needs could still be grown on the field bunds, on the field borders, and in the house back yards.
Nine crops in the field are: