Response of cereals to nitrogen in sole cropping and intercropping with different legumes uri icon

abstract

  • The response of sole and intercropped cereal to nitrogen fertilization was compared in three contrasting cropping systems, sorghum/pigeonpea, maize/groundnut, and sorghum/cowpea. The cereal in these systems responded to nitrogen similarly as in sole cropping, although different legumes affected the cereal differently. There was no current season benefit from the legume, whether it matured earlier or later than the cereal, and for high yields the cereal in intercropping needs fertilizer application. Response to nitrogen varied with the amount and distribution of seasonal rainfall. With increased nitrogen fertilizer applied to the intercropped cereal, the legume yields were suppressed. The optimum dose for the intercropped cereal was similar to that for sole cropping but it was 50% less in a dry year particularly, on a shallow Alfisol. The combined yields of both crops made intercropping more profitable than sole cropping. The relative advantage of intercropping was high in the sorghum/pigeonpea system (40 to 70%) because of the greater temporal difference between species, and moderate in the maize/groundnut (13 to 35%), and sorghum/cowpea (18 to 25%) systems. Although the relative advantage of intercropping (expressed as Land Equivalent Ratio (LER)) decreased with N, the economic value, of the advantage was little affected within the optimum N range because absolute yields increased with fertilization

publication date

  • 1987
  • 1987