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Review of some methods of calculating intercrop efficiencies with particular reference to the estimates of intercrop benefits in wheat/faba bean system.

Author(s): Ibrahim Yahuza

Journal: International Journal of Biosciences
ISSN 2220-6655

Volume: 1;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 18;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: : LER | ATER | CPR | CPRT | MA.

Intercropping (growing two or more crops together simultaneously) is increasing being adopted worldwide, probably because there have been suggestions that the system is beneficial in terms of land use efficiency compared to sole cropping. There are several indices for estimating intercrop performance compared to the component sole crops, but as reviewed in this paper, the land equivalent ratio (LER) is the most widely adopted. Yet the LER is constrained because it is not able to account for the relative duration each component in the intercrop spent in the field may have had on intercropping performance. Area time equivalency ratio (ATER) appears to have solved this problem well. However, neither ATER nor LER can account for the physiological or physical basis for the intercropping performance. The crop performance ratio (CPR) is more appropriate in this regard, even though CPR ‘adjusted for time’, (CPRT) is more efficient where the component crops differ in growth duration. In addition, particularly for intercrops with commercial value, there may be a need to compute a monetary advantage (MA) for intercropping. This paper concludes that in addition to the LER, for certain intercrops such as wheat/faba bean system that has not been widely adopted, there may be a need to use other indices such as ATER, CPR, CPRT and MA as may be applicable in order to understand more fully the nature of intercrop benefits that may exist. Indeed such type of information may help to attract potential growers.
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