3. Crop Rotation, Multiple Cropping & Intercropping?

What is Crop Rotation, Multi Cropping, Intercropping, Types, Principles, Objectives, and advantages?
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Crop Rotation

Flow Chart For Crop Rotation
Topics Covered for Crop Rotation


Definition: It is the practice of growing different crops in different seasons on the same piece of land again and again.


  •  Profit maximization
  •  Investment minimization
  •  Fertility conservation

Principles to be followed:

  • Tap fruit crop should be followed by fibrous root crop
  • Non-legume followed by legume
  • More exhaustive crop followed by less exhaustive crop
  • Selection
  1. Demand-based 
  • can be easily sold 
  1. Problem-based 
  • erosion resistant for example legume
  1. Finance-based
  2. Soil-based
  • One family followed by another family


  1.  Timely agricultural operations
  2.  Fertility maintenance
  3.  Controlling insects and weed
  4.  Utilization of resources
  5.  better prices

Multi Cropping

Topic Covered for Multi Cropping flow chart
Topic Covered for Multi Cropping


It is the system of growing two or more crops in a single layer on a piece of land.


  • More production per unit of land
  • Risk minimization, profit maximization

Types of Multi Cropping:

  1. Mixed System: It is the sowing of two or more crops without specific row differentiation in a field at the same time.

Example: Groundnut and sunflower together.

mixed cropping
mixed cropping

Advantage:  it minimizes the risk of complete crop loss in case one crop is destroyed due to some reasons. 

Disadvantage: crop operations become difficult.

  1. Intercropping: It is the sowing of two or more crops in a field with a specific row differentiation at the same time.

It has a few subtypes:

2.1 Parallel IntercroppingSowing two or more crops parallel to each other. Example: Black Gram(A) + Wheat(B)

[A= A+B]

         2.2 Companion Intercropping: Companion crops are those which do not compete with each other for moisture, space, or nutrients.

     Example: Mustard/Potato/Maize(A) + Sugarcane(B)

     [A= A+B]

      2.3 Multilevel Intercropping: These are crops that occupy different spaces in terms of height. 

Example Mustard(A)+ Sugarcane(B) + Potato(C)

[A< A+B+C]

multilayer cropping
multilayer cropping
multilayer cropping
multilayer cropping scheme

      2.4 Synergetic Intercropping: When the yield of both crops is more than pure crop. Example: Sugarcane(A) + Potato(B)

[A= A+B]

    2.5 On basis of percentage of the crop:

  • ADDITIVE: One Base crop + additive/inter crop
additive scheme
additive scheme
  • REPLACEMENT: Component A + Component B
replacement scheme
replacement scheme
  1. Sequential System: The first crop is harvested before the second crop is sown. Example: Wheat-Rice system
  1. Relay Cropping System: The second crop is sown even before the first crop is harvested and so on. In this system, a part of the crop life cycle coincides with another crop. Example: Maize-Potato-Chilli System
Sequential vs Relay Cropping
Sequential vs Relay Cropping

Principles of Multiple Intensive Cropping:

  • Crops should be of short duration and photoperiod insensitive.
  • Vegetables should be included as they are more profitable and nutritious.
  • Allopathic effects should not be there.
  • Legumes should be included.

Important points to be considered for Multiple Cropping:

  1.  It should be agronomically suitable and technically feasible
  2.  Compatibility between the crops should be there
  3.  Selection of probes should be based on most profitability
  4.  There should be assured irrigation facilities
  5.  Essential inputs should be locally available
  6.  Facilities for stable marketing and storage should be there
  7.  There should be good transportation facilities
  8.  There should be easy carrot availability
  9.  Cheap labor availability
  10.  Proper adjustment of sewing and harvesting time


Additional income for unit areaYield decrease due to competitive ability
Insurance against failureDifficult task
Soil fertility maintenanceImplement use is very difficult
Decreased runoff and weed infestationMore use of fertilizers and water
Provide shade and supportHarvesting difficulty
Resource utilization
More Cash crop is equal to more profit
More plants per unit area but less competition
table: intercropping advantages vs disadvantages

What is the Concept of Annidation?


It is the complementary interaction between the crops in which one helps the other.

 Types of relation:

  •  Ariel
  •  soil layers
  •  Peak nutrient demand (PND)

For example, PND for Urad Mung is 30 to 35 days after sowing, but for the maze, it is 50 to 55 days after sowing.

Click here to know about Cropping and Farming Concepts

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