Intercropping is defined simply as growing two or more crop types on one field. The practice of intercrops has actually been around since farming began.
Modernization of farming equipment has changed our farming practices into what they’re today, which is largely mono-cropping.
Mono-cropping is planting only one crop on a field that was adapted with the intention of maximizing the amount of seeds you could plant on one filed and in a shorter period of time.
Looking back on it today, it seems our ancestors were on to something, as there still a lot of value held in the practice of intercropping.
Benefits Of Intercropping:
- Weed suppression, and a reduction in susceptibility to insect and disease.
- Diversity and stability of fields.
- Reduction in chemical or fertilizer application.
- A complementary sharing of plant resources, such as Nitrogen from N fixing plants.
There are three different ways farmers can choose to intercrop:
1. Mixed intercropping, were two or more types are mixed together, seeded together, and harvested together.
2. Strip/row intercropping, were two or more crop types are alternated in rows or sections.
3. Relay cropping is planting a second crop type into an existing crop once it is reached the reproductive stage.