Inter-cropping is defined simply as growing two or more crop types on one field. The practice of inter-cropping has actually been around since farming began.
Modernization of farming equipment has changed our farming practices into what they are 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 field 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 inter-cropping.
BENEFITS OF INTERCROPPING
- Diversity & stability of fields.
- Reduction in chemical/fertilizer application.
- A complementary sharing of plant resources, such as Nitrogen from N fixing plants.
- Weed suppression, and a reduction in susceptibility to insects and disease.
There are three different ways farmers can choose to inter-cropping:
- mixed intercropping.
- strip/row intercropping.
- relay cropping