Intercropping field crops between rows of Leucaena leucocephala under rainfed conditions in northern India
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A field study was conducted for six years (1981–1986) on sandy loam soil on intercropping hedgerows of Leucaena leucocephala (Lam) de Wit. with three field crops viz. maize (Zea mays L), black gram (Vigna mungo L) and cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L Taub.). In treatments 1 and 2 Leucaena hedges were planted as pure crops at close (25 cm × 75 cm) and wide (25 cm × 375 cm) spacings. In treatments 3, 4 and 5 the three field crops were intercropped between the hedgerows of Leucaena at the wide spacing, and in treatments 6, 7 and 8 the field crops were raised as pure crops. Leucaena was topped to 75 cm each time it attained a height of 175 cm.
The pure crop of Leucaena at close spacing produced an average, over the six years, of 34 t ha−1a−1 of green fodder and 9.4 t ha−1a−1 of air dry fuelwood. The Leucaena at wide spacing produced 18.9 t ha−1a−1 of green fodder and 6.3 t ha−1a−1 of fuelwood. Intercropping with field crops decreased the yield of green fodder and fuelwood. The yield of all the field crops was less when raised as intercrops than as pure crops.
Mean maximum net returns were obtained from intercrops of Leucaena and cluster bean (Rs 3540 ha−1a−1) which were significantly higher than the returns from pure crop of Leucaena at wide spacing but similar to the returns from pure crops of cluster bean. Leucaena with maize (Rs 3273 ha−1a−1) and black gram (Rs 3125 ha−1a−1) gave significantly higher net returns over pure crops of Leucaena at wide spacing, maize and black gram.
ICRISAT = International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics- Hyderabad, India.
Key wordsAgroforestry biomass intercropping alley cropping maize (Zea mays) black gram (Vigna mungo) Cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala)
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