Bean oat intercrop

Intercropping is a method of planting two or more crops in close proximity to each other, either in alternate rows or in the same row. The goal of intercropping is to maximize the use of available space and resources, such as sunlight, water, and nutrients. It can also help to improve soil health and increase crop diversity, which can provide a range of benefits including increased resistance to pests and diseases, and a longer harvest season.

There are several types of intercropping systems, including mixed intercropping, in which different crops are grown together in the same row or bed, and relay intercropping, in which one crop is grown for a period of time and then another crop is planted in the same space once the first crop has been harvested.

Intercropping can be an effective way to increase crop productivity and reduce the risks associated with growing a single crop. It can also provide a range of ecological benefits, including increased biodiversity, reduced soil erosion, and improved water retention. However, it can be challenging to manage intercropping systems, as the different crops may have different nutrient and water requirements, and care must be taken to avoid competition for resources.

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Impressive innovative commercial example of intercropping wheat and soya beans by Jason Mauck:

 

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Innovative Farmers, as part of their involvement in the Horizon Europe LEGUMINOSE project we will be setting up trials with Reading University to look at the benefits of intercropping in arable rotations.

Crop physiology is the study of how plants function and respond to their environment. It involves understanding the factors that affect crop growth and development, such as light, temperature, water, and nutrients, and the physiological mechanisms that plants use to adapt to their environment, such as photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration. 

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