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Strip Intercropping Effects on Yield and Yield Components of Corn, Grain Sorghum, and Soybean


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 91 No. 5, p. 807-813
    Received: June 22, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): lesoingg@ext.missouri.edu
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  1. Gary W. Lesoing *a and
  2. Charles A. Francisb
  1. a Univ. of Missouri, 108 W. North Main, Richmond, MO 64085 USA
    b Dep. of Agronomy and Ctr. for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, 225 Keim Hall, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0949 USA


Strip intercropping of corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] and grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] and soybean may be a viable alternative to monoculture cropping to help reduce soil erosion. Careful study of yields and yield components can add to understanding crop performance and contribute to design of more productive systems. Rainfed and irrigated experiments were conducted in eastern Nebraska from 1988 to 1990, on a Sharpsburg silty clay loam (fine, smectitic, mesic Typic Argiudoll), to quantify strip-intercropping effects on crop yields and yield components. Corn border-row and grain sorghum border-row yields next to soybean increased significantly compared with inside rows in the strips. Increased seed number and seed weight contributed to higher corn border-row yields, while only seed number increased in grain sorghum border rows. Soybean border-row yields were lower next to all corn strips and next to grain sorghum strips at the rainfed site. Soybean seed number was lower in border rows next to corn. Corn border-row increases in seed number and seed weight indicate that competition for resources was important in both reproductive and grain-filling periods; sorghum border-row increases in seed number suggest competition only in the reproductive period. Higher corn density in border rows may further exploit a competitive advantage with soybean in the reproductive period, perhaps increasing system productivity. Whole-system productivity of strip-intercropping systems was a maximum of 4% higher than monocultures of component crops, and gross returns did not differ between the two systems. If there is need to control soil erosion, strip intercropping can be equally profitable to monoculture if production costs are similar.

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Copyright © 1999. American Society of AgronomySoil Science Society of America