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Genetics of Inter Cropping for Crop Productivity Enhancement

Abstract: Inter cropping which is also known as mixed cropping has ability of increasing usage of nutrient and water efficiently, enhancing crop productivity, and plasticity to abiotic and biotic stress resulted by change in climate. In this agroecological farming method, two or more crops are cultivated together on the same farm area. Cereal with legume is a common combination. Crop selection is not profitable unless characteristics useful in intercrops, such as intercropping in legume and cereal cultivars, are considered. Inter cropping can result in enhanced soil fertility and structure, improved weed suppression, the conservation of soil moisture, and comparatively better control of diseases and pests, resulting greater yield and increased profitability. The biggest benefit of intercropping systems is the fact that they combine above-ground and below-ground benefits: these benefits include both short and tall plant components, which helps them to harness sunlight for photosynthesis, as well as deep and shallow rooted plant components, which assists them in using water and nutrients for crop production. Intercropping is popular in areas of the world including China, Mali, Indonesia, India, Ethiopia, and Niger due to its high growing popularity in agriculture. General & Specific Combining Ability principles in hybrid breeding have been applied for crop combinations and cultivars, and their impacts are recognized as General/ Specific Mixing Ability. The other considerable advantages of intercropping include greater land use efficiency, competitive ability towards weed, favorable exudates from the component legumes, and greater yield stability which cannot be achieved in monocropping. Plant breeding enables intercropping systems to better use their genetic diversity by conducting plant breeding research and harnessing this variability to cross-crop adaptability. High labor inputs in harvesting, higher cost of maintenance and reduction of the main crop are some disadvantages of intercropping.
Keywords: land use / Mixing / intercropping systems / greater yield / nutrient and water / harness / cultivars / weed / plasticity

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