Advantages of Intercropping:
- It improves the soil fertility.
- It suppresses the weed grown.
- It gives additional income from the orchard even during the pre-bearing stage of the main fruit crop.
- It is an effective means of proper land and space utilization.
- It provides microclimate favourable for main fruit crops.
- It enhances the biodiversity and stability in the farming system.
- It prevents soil erosion when cover crops are grown as intercrops.
Disadvantages of Intercropping:
- Intercropping requires very timely field operations.
- Intercrops can limit the use of machines in orchard management practices.
- Intercrops compete with the main crop for nutrients, water, and light.
- Intercropping is a labour intensive farm activity.
+9 Criteria of Intercropping:
- The leguminous crops and vegetables should be grown as intercrops in the young orchard.
- The shade loving crops such as elephant foot and numeric should be preferred to cultivate in a full grown bearing orchard.
- The crops have shallow and fibrous roots should be preferred as intercrops.
- The ginger, zimikand, papaya, banana, strawberry, kale, plum, peach, guava, pineapple, karonda, can be grown as intercrops in old orchards.
- The tomato, onion, radish, beans, cauliflower, kale, carrot, turnip, cowpea, guar, pea, chick pea, lentil, mustrad, pumpkin, cucumber, lady’s finger, and seed spices can be grown as intercrops in young orchards.
- The legumes are the better choice as an intercrops in the orchards established on neglected or poor fertile soil.
- The perennial, exhaustive, and robust growing crops should not be selected as an intercrops in the orchard.
- The vegetables are the better choice for the orchards which are nearer to village, towns or cities.
- The water requirement of the intercrops should coincide with the water need fruit plants.