Above and below ground interactions in alley-cropping in semi-arid India
- 278 Downloads
The influence of micro-environment on the growth and yield of cowpea, castor and sorghum was investigated in a 10 m wide alley cropping system. The alleys were formed by Leucaena hedgerows pruned for both fodder and pole production. Below-ground interaction was examined by installing a polythene root barrier between the root systems of crops and Leucaena and by measurements of both soil moisture and root growth. Microclimate measurements included light, wind speed, humidity and temperature.
Growth and yield of crops declined from 150 to 30% of sole crop as the distance from the hedgerows decreased from 5 to 0.3 m. The presence of the root barrier had a marked effect on crop growth and completely eliminated any reduction in crop yield, although shading by the hedgerows reached 30 to 85% of full sunlight. There was some modification of the microclimate in the alleys but the changes were not great enough to significantly influence crop yield. The substantial increase in crop yield in the middle of the alleys was explained by the residual effect of a previous hedgerow, removed 12 months previously, on probably the infiltration rate and nutrient status of the soil. These results clearly showed that alley cropping in the semi-arid tropics induces competition for moisture between the trees and crops which may severely reduce crop yield.
KeywordsWind Speed Soil Moisture Root Growth Crop Yield Nutrient Status
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Corlett J, Ong CK and Black CR (1988) Modification of Microclimate in alley cropping and intercropping. Proceedings of ICRAF/WMO/UNEP Workshop on Application of Meteorology to Agroforestry Systems Planning and Management, Nairobi, Kenya, 9–13 February 1987 (in press)Google Scholar
- Felker P (1978) State of the art: Acacia albida as a complementary permanent intercrop with annual crops. Prepared under USAID grant No.AIF/Afr-C-1361. Riverside. Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of California, 133 pp (Mimeo)Google Scholar
- Harris D, Natarajan M and Willey RW (1987) The physiological basis for yield advantage in a sorghum: groundnut intercrop. 1. Dry matter productivity yield and light interception. Field Crop Res 17: 259–272Google Scholar
- Ong CK (1984) The influence of temperature and water deficit on the partitioning of dry matter in groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Journal of Experimental Botany 35: 746–755Google Scholar
- Ong CK, Black CR, Simmonds LP and Saffell RA (1985) Influence of saturation deficit on leaf production and expansion in stands of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) grown without irrigation. Annals of Botany 56: 523–536Google Scholar
- Singh RP, Van den Beldt RJ, Hocking D and Korwar GR (1988) Alley cropping in the semi-arid regions of India. Proceedings of Workshop on Alley cropping, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, March 10–14. (in press)Google Scholar
- Willey RW and Reddy MS (1981) A field technique for separating above and below-ground interactions in intercropping: an experiment with pearl millet/groundnut. Experimental Agriculture 17: 257–264Google Scholar