Intercropping Systems in Mango Orchard for Rainfed Area of Central India  

Raut R.L.1 , Jain P.K.2
1. Krishi, Vigyan Kendra, JNKVV, Betul Bazar, Betul (M.P.), 460004, India
2. Department of Horticulture, Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Jabalpur 482004(M.P.), India
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Horticulture, 2013, Vol. 3, No. 15   doi: 10.5376/ijh.2013.03.0015
Received: 07 Apr., 2013    Accepted: 11 Apr., 2013    Published: 22 Apr., 2013
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Raut et al., 2013, Intercropping Systems in Mango Orchard for Rainfed Area of Central India, International Journal of Horticulture, 2013, Vol.3, No.15 87-90 (doi: 10.5376/ijh.2013.03.0015)


The experiment was conducted to assess the effect of intercrops on growth characters (plant height, girth and canopy area) and yield of main crop mango and vise-versa. The intercrops influenced the growth of main plants and increase in plant height and canopy area of the mango and it was found maximum with paddy followed by black gram intercrops. However, the canopy of the base crop also affects the growth and yield of intercrops and it is observed that the under canopy intercrops performed poor compared to open field. Fruit yield and return out of sold fruits of mango were found maximum with intercrops blakgram. Maximum number of fruits was observed with intercrop blackgram whereas, maximum average fruit weight was found in pigeon pea. The maximum net return, paddy equivalent yield and B:C ratio were obtained from intercrop ginger. The nutrient status of orchard soil also found improved after intercropping. 

Intercropping; Mango; Filler plants; Growth characters; Yield

Orcharding is one of the most economic practice in agriculture. Horticultural crops give more income than the any other crops. Besides the higher return, cultivation of horticultural crops has some limitation viz, high establishment cost, long juvenile period, unavailability of genuine planting materials etc. Among these limitations long juvenile phase can be utilized by intercropping between the fruit plants. Intercropping gives income when fruit plants are not in bearing and conserving soil moisture with improving soil fertility. The intercrops affect height, girth, canopy and yield of the fruit crop and the fruit plant canopy also affects the performance of the intercrops. Rainfed paddy is the common practice in this area, which gives very nominal return to the farmers. Therefore, an experiment was conducted for identification of best suitable intercrops for rainfed areas of the Madhya Pradesh to replace paddy and to assess the affect of intercrops on base plants mango and vise-versa.

Results and Discussion
The data presented in Table 1, is clearly indicated that, the plant height, girth, canopy area and yield of the main crop mango was influenced by the intercrops. The maximum incremental height (3.35 cm/month) of base crop mango was observed with intercrop paddy without fillers and it was significantly higher over other treatments. Whereas, the minimum incremental height of mango (2.94 cm/month) was observed with intercrop ginger. Similarly the maximum incremental canopy area (0.23 m2/ month) was recorded with paddy and it was significantly higher from other intercrops. Rajput et al (1998) observed maximum tree volume of mango in cowpea, potato rotation. Sarkar et al (2004) also reported that the intercrop significant of influenced the height girth and canopy of the mango tree. Incremental stem girth of the main crop mango was found maximum (0.62 cm/month) with intercrops pigeonpea and which was significantly higher from other intercrops.

Table 1 Plant height, girth and canopy area of the main crop mango as influenced by the intercrop

The data revealed from Table 2 indicated that the growth of newly planted pomegranate was not significantly affected by the intercrops but the maximum height (1.42 cm/month) was found with paddy intercrop. Whereas, the maximum incremental girth (0.25 cm/month) was observed with intercrop pigeonpea.

Table 2 Plant height and girth of filler crop (Pomegranate) influenced by intercrops in mango orchard

Effect of canopy on the performance of intercrops was also observed (Table 3). The plant height of intercrop was observed higher in open field as compared to under canopy and it may be due to competition of light, water and nutrient between the base crop mango and inter-crops. Similarly the yields of intercrops were also lower under canopy. The paddy equivalent yield of various intercrop was also influenced by the shade of tree and the maximum paddy equivalent under canopy area was observed with ginger without fillers (191.1 q/ha) and it was significantly higher over other treatments. The similar results were also found in open field. However, under open field condition crop performed well than under canopy. Hore et al (2004) also reported good yield of ginger intercrops in arecanut plantation. Bhua et al (1988) also studied performance of various intercrops in mango orchard. Reddy et al (2003) also reported that the soybean was recorded due to canopy of the citrus and poplars tree.

Table 3 Effect of canopy of the base crop (bearing mango) on height and yield of intercrop during kharif 2002

It was also observed that the intercrops influenced the nutrient status of the intercrops influenced the nutrient status of the orchard soil and slight increase in N, P and K content was recorded after taking the intercrops (Table 4) and it may be due to residual effect of fertilizers applied to the intercrops, leaves of the main crop, roots and other parts of intercrops mixed into the soil.

Table 4 Soil analysis of orchard

The data given in Table 5 are clearly indicated that the maximum average number of penicles per plant (101) of mango were observed with intercrop paddy with pomegranate filler crop and it is at par with intercrop pigeon pea but significantly higher over other treatments. Maximum number of fruits per plant (170) was found with intercrop pigeon pea with filler crop pomegranate and it is significantly higher over other treatments. The average fruit yield (44.92 q/ha) and return from sold fruit (Rs. 26,952/ha) were found significantly higher with intercrop black gram with fillercrop. The higher fruit yield and number of fruits per plant may be due to effect of leguminous intercrops i.e. blackgram and paddy. Pawar and Sarwade (2006), Rajput et el (1988) and Singh et al (1976) while taking intercrops in mango orchard recorded similar observations.

Table 5 Yield and yield attributing characters of mango

Data presented in Table
Data presented in Table 6 showed that the maximum significant net return (Rs. 57,200/ha) and highest B:C ratio (2.24) were recorded from treatment ginger without filler crop. Similar findings were also given by Sarkar et al (2004) when vegetables grown in young mango orchards.

Table 6 Yield and economics of various intercrops grown in mango orchard

Conclusions and recommendation
The final conclusion from the finding that is intercrops influenced the growth of main plants and increases in plant height and canopy. Paddy increases the maximum canopy of base crop but highest fruit yield observe from pulses. Thus on the basis of findings pulse crops are recommended for rainfed orchard in initial years of establishment. 

The experiment was conducted in the kharif 2002 and kharif 2003 in 6~7 years old mango orchard with Baiganpalli cultivars. Mango plants were planted at a distance of 8m x 8m. The pomegranate plants were planted between mango plants as fillers during July, 2002. The mango orchard was managed properly and operations like pruning, training, weeding, hoeing and fertilization (25 kg FYM+250 g N+200 g P+300 g K per plant) were done timely. Intercrops paddy, pigeon pea, ginger and black gram were taken in inter space of the mango. The experiment was replicated thrice in RBD. The pooled data of two years were analyzed by method given by Pansey and Sukhatme (1985). Paddy equivalent yield of intercrops are calculated by using the formula {Paddy equivalent yield (q/ha)=Yield of intercrop per hectare x Price of intercrop (Rs./q.) / Price of paddy (Rs./q.)} for making base of comparison among the intercrops. The production technology used for intercrop is given in Table 7.

Table 7 Production Technology of kharif intercrops

The soil analysis was done before Kharif 2002 and also after harvest of Kharif 2003 intercrops for observing the changes in the nutrient status (Table
4). Various observations of base crop i.e. plant height, girth, canopy area and yield were recorded. Yield and height of intercrops also recorded in under canopy and in open field. The growth characters of filler crop pomegranate were recorded to assess the effect of intercrops. Cost benefit ratio and paddy equivalent yield of intercrops and monitory return from fruit tree were also calculated.
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