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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil Tillage, Conservation & Management

Productivity, Economic, and Environmental Benefits in Intercropping of Maize with Chili and Grass


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 109 No. 5, p. 2407-2414
    Received: Oct 10, 2016
    Accepted: May 29, 2017
    Published: June 30, 2017

    * Corresponding author(s): Bozhiwu2003@aliyun.com
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  1. Chengren Ouyanga,
  2. Kaixian Wua,
  3. Tongxin Ana,
  4. Jia Hea,
  5. Shuhui Zia,
  6. Youqiong Yanga and
  7. Bozhi Wu *a
  1. a Faculty of Agronomy and Biotechnology, Yunnan Agricultural Univ., P.O. 650201, Kunming, Yunnan Province, PR China
Core Ideas:
  • In upland, how to integrate soil conservation, productivity, and economic benefits is still a challenge.
  • Using a 4-yr experiment, we found the maize/chili intercropping could be a valuable choice, which decreased erosion and increased economic benefits.
  • The multiple cropping system combined with staple and cash crops should be given greater attention in hilly areas.


Intercropping is a widespread cropping system to increase land productivity and decreases soil erosion. However, considering economic benefits of intercropping mountain agriculture is deficient. A field experiment was conducted to determine productivity, economic efficiency, and soil conservation benefits of intercropping of maize (Zea mays L.) with chili (Capsicum annuum L.) and setaria grass (Setaria anceps Stapf ex Massesy) in Yunnan. Runoff, sediment, crop yield, and economic benefits were evaluated under sole maize (SM), sole chili (SC), maize/chili intercropping (MCI), and maize/setaria grass intercropping (MGI). The results suggested that intercropping decreased runoff when compared with sole crop. The MGI had the least sediment, followed by MCI, SM, and SC. Severe soil loss was observed in sole crop systems but not in intercropping systems. Moreover, the land equivalent ratio (LER) of MCI ranged from 1.22 to 1.69, and mean economic income (US$3955 ha–1) were 29.91, 16.38, and 23.41% higher than that of SM, SC, and MGI, respectively. Therefore, MCI can integrate the benefits of productivity, economy, and soil conservation, suggesting that intercropping of maize and chili, a staple-cash crop pattern, should be favored in mountain agriculture.

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