Productivity and risk evaluation in contrasting intercropping systems

Rao, M R and Singh, M (1990) Productivity and risk evaluation in contrasting intercropping systems. Field Crops Research, 23 (3-4). pp. 279-293. ISSN 0378-4290

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Four contrasting intercropping systems (sorghum/pigeonpeas, groundnuts/pigeonpeas, sorghum/Pennisetum americanum and groundnuts/P. americanum) were evaluated along with sole crops from 1979 to 1982 at 9 different sites at Patancheru. Productivity of intercrops was closely related to the diversity of the crops involved. The 2 pigeonpea-based systems, with an interval of about 3 months between harvests, showed a large and consistent advantage over the respective sole crops. On the basis of land productivity, sorghum/pigeonpeas averaged 49% and pigeonpeas/groundnuts 53% advantage over their respective sole crop yields. These intercrops were also more profitable than the respective sole crops. The other 2 systems, with only 2-4 weeks between harvests of the components, showed a much lower and less consistent advantage. The groundnuts/P. americanum recorded 18% and the sorghum/P. americanum 7% advantage over their respective sole crops. Risk was measured by calculating the probability of success or failure of intercrops in satisfying specified quantities of yields and income in comparison with an optimal shared soil system having some of both sole crops. Pigeonpea-based intercropping systems had a lower risk than shared (or optimum) sole crops over a wide range of expected yields or income. There was no advantage for the sorghum/P. americanum intercropping compared with the shared sole crops at lower expectation, and for higher expectations sole sorghum should be preferred to the intercrop. Risk from groundnuts/P. americanum was less than from the shared sole system only in limited situations. Reduced risk of pigeonpea-based intercrops was associated with higher productivity and lower variability of combined intercrop yields or income. The methods employed in this study can be extended for risk evaluation in other intercropping and mixed systems

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Mandate crops > Pigeonpea
Mandate crops > Groundnut
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Depositing User: Ms K Syamalamba
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2011 06:07
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2011 06:07
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors thank Dr R.W. Willy (former ICRISAT staff) for suggestions during the conduct of the study and Dr T.S. Walker for helpful comments in preparation of the paper. They also thank Messrs M.S. Kumar and P. Keshav Reddy for providing field assistance, P. Venkateswarlu, G. Swaminathan, and V.R. prabhakar for assistance in computations, and C.P. Jaiswal for secretarial help
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