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Productivity and water use of organic wheat–chickpea intercropping system under limited moisture conditions in Northwest India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2017

Balwinder Singh
Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141 004, Punjab, India.
C.S. Aulakh*
Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141 004, Punjab, India.
S.S. Walia
Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141 004, Punjab, India.
*Corresponding author:


Intercropping of legumes in cereals and manuring are important measures to sustain soil fertility and enhance crop productivity in general and under organic and limited moisture conditions in particular. This study evaluated different wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) + chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) row ratios as intercrops under organic and limited moisture conditions in Northwest India with an aim to find out the suitable row ratio to get higher system productivity under these conditions. Chickpea, being a legume, produces nitrogen compounds that help the plant to grow itself and also makes them available to the companion wheat plants and thus helps in wheat nutrition, which otherwise becomes limited due to less mineralization of nitrogen under organic and cold weather conditions. The primary aim of the study was to get better productivity of wheat crop as this is an assured crop of this region. The intercropping system was evaluated in a randomized complete block design with four replications at Ludhiana, Punjab in Northwest India during 2013–2014 and 2014–2015. Effective tillers m−1 row length, number of grains spike−1 and 1000-grain weight of wheat were higher in wheat + chickpea (2:1) intercropping system as compared with sole wheat. This intercropping system produced significantly higher wheat grain yield, wheat equivalent yield and land equivalent ratio than sole wheat. Wheat + chickpea (2:1) and wheat + chickpea (3:1) intercropping systems gave higher water-use efficiency than sole wheat. However, chickpea gave higher yield attributes and seed yield as sole crop than that in different intercropping systems. Wheat + chickpea (2:1) and wheat + chickpea (3:1) intercropping systems produced mean wheat grain yields of 5.11 and 4.79 Mg ha−1, respectively, along with additional mean chickpea seed yields of 0.28 and 0.24 Mg ha−1, respectively.

Research Paper
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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