Average size of land hodings of Indian farmers is decreasing day by dayowing to constant increase in human population. Presently, the proportions of marginal, small and big farmers in the country is 58.0, 18.0 and 24.0 per cent, respectively. Therefore, to meet the demand of food viz; cereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, sugar, etc. for the ever increasing population, raising production of these crops is of utmost importance. Since increasing the area under these crops is not possible due to limited availability of agricultural land, the only option is to increase the crop productivity on the available land. The productivity of land could be enhanced substantially by growing inter crops in the space left between sugarcane rows. Sugarcane crop remains in the field for a year or more and the space between sugarcane rows range from 70 to 90 cm providing ample chance for profuse weed growth which draws huge amount of nutrients and moisture from the soil. Hence, besides suppressing weeds in the inter-row spaces, additional production could be taken by growing suitable inter crops in between the cane rows.
Some of the Inter crops have been found to have no/negligible adverse effect on sugarcane yield. It has been proved by the results obtained at the research stations and demonstrations conducted on farmers’ fields that the inter cropping with sugarcane is beneficial over the growing of sugarcane alone. Keeping the idea in view, a team of scientists under Institution-Village Linkage Programme (IVLP) thoroughly discussed the prospects of inter cropping in sugarcane with the farmers. During the discussion, it came to our notice that the farmers of the area have never taken inter crop with sugarcane. They were apprehensive of yield reduction in both sugarcane and inter crop due to less time available for intercultural operations. Generally, the farmers had been growing sugarcane during spring season or after the harvest of rabi crops i.e. March to May. Farmers felt surprised to know about the benefits of growing sugarcane in autumn season. Scientists explained in detail that 20-25 per cent yield and 0.5 unit sugar recovery are increased by growing sugarcane in autumn in comparison to spring planting sugarcane. Normally, there is no yield reduction in inter crops. The farmers thus,
got motivated towards inter cropping in autumn planted sugarcane.
Original link: https://iisr.icar.gov.in/iisr/