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Research Article

Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat

Nargis Akter, Md. A. Alim , M. Mahbubul Islam , Zabun Naher , Maksuder Rahman and A.S.M. Iqbal Hossain
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The experiment was carried out to evaluate the performance of lentil-wheat mixed and intercropping system. Positive variation in different yield contributing characters except 1000seed weight of lentil and wheat to 40% of wheat seed rate and 1:1 line sowing were noticed indicating the agronomic suitability of mixed and intercropping of lentil and wheat in those practices. Line sowing performed better than sole broadcast sowing. All mixed seed rate decreased lentil yield but LER was increased in all the treatments over the sole crop lentil as broadcast. The maximum LER (1.52), monetary advantage (63%), benefit cost ratio (1.84) were achieved in lentil and 40% wheat as mixed cropping system.

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Nargis Akter, Md. A. Alim , M. Mahbubul Islam , Zabun Naher , Maksuder Rahman and A.S.M. Iqbal Hossain , 2004. Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat. Journal of Agronomy, 3: 48-51.

DOI: 10.3923/ja.2004.48.51



Mixed and intercropping have some advantages e.g. better use of growth resources, control of weeds, pests and diseases and greater stability of yield in case of environmental hazards over the monoculture of the companion crops. The merit of intercropping have been maintained by Ram[1] as (1) additional income from companion crop (2) insurance against failure of the main crop and (3) quick growth of companion crop tends to suppress weeds. In intercropping system the important determinants are judicious selection of crops which are compatible, having minimum competition and give maximum total yield[2]. A careful selection of the companion crop could maintain the balance of nutrients status. The beneficial effect of legume and non-legume association for soil fertility amelioration through biological nitrogen fixation has been reported by various workers[3-6].

The superiority of mixed/intercropping over sole crops for a number of species is a widely accepted practice. Mixed cropping of lentil with wheat is a prevailing practice in Bangladesh. But the farmers here do not properly follow the principles of mixed cropping. Actually, the dwarf crop lentil should be taken as a major crop by allowing the full of its population to grow and the tall crop wheat should be incorporated in such a way that its population as a whole do not interfere the profitability of the mixed and intercropping system. Thus, the proportion of the seed rates of wheat used in the combination may be a determinant to yield and profitability. Further, intercropping of lentil with wheat in terms of paired row cropping may show some advantages in comparison with the performance of sole and mixed cropping. In every year a huge amount of pulse seeds are imported from abroad and it is increasing day by day. This clearly means that the existing cropping practice, which is, on the whole a pure culture, cannot meet up the demand of the nation. The reason is that the pulse crops apparently are lagging behind while competing with winter vegetables or wheat in terms of profitability. If the research project undertaken can generate a technology that a combination of population of wheat with lentil is more profitable compared with their sole cropping. The farmers of the country might then interest in growing more lentil crops. This can lead a way to grow more pulses to keep fit the pulses of the nation. Moreover, still now research works have conducted individually on mixed or inter cropping in the country. Study on performance of different practices has yet not been done.

Therefore, the present study is aimed at determining the performance and yield advantages and economic gains from the variable seed rate ratios of wheat as mixed/intercropping within the base crop lentil.


The experiment was conducted at the Agricultural farm, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh in 1996-1997 under Old Brahmaputra flood plain agro ecological zone with the following treatments:

T1 : Lentil 100% + 0% Wheat (Broadcast)
T2 : Lentil 100% + 20% Wheat (Mixed crop)
T3 : Lentil 100% + 40% Wheat (Mixed crop)
T4 : Lentil 100% + 60% Wheat (Mixed crop)
T5 : Lentil 100% + 80% Wheat (Mixed crop)
T6 : Lentil 0% + 100% Wheat (Broadcast)
T7 : 1:1 row system of lentil : wheat (Intercrop)
T8 : 2:1 row system of lentil : wheat (Intercrop)
T9 : 3:1 row system of lentil : wheat (Intercrop)
T10 : 1:0 row system of lentil : wheat (Line sown sole lentil)
T11 : 0:1 row system of lentil : wheat (Line sown sole wheat)

The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replications. The plot was 1.6x12.5 m2 with irrigation canal of 0.5m wide and 0.15 mm depth was made around block to provide irrigation water.

Seed rate used for wheat and lentil were 130 and 35 kg ha-1 respectively. Different fertilizers for sole wheat were Urea, TSP, MP, Gypsum @ of 180, 140, 40 and 110 kg ha-1, respectively. The whole amount of TSP, MP, Gypsum and 2/3rd of urea were applied as basal dose at final land preparation. Rest one third of urea was applied as top dressing before irrigation. Different fertilizers such as urea, TSP and MP for sole lentil and mixed intercropped situation were applied at the rate of 49.4, 98.8 and 49.4 kg ha-1, respectively. The crop was sown on 5/12/96, weeding were done twice, once on 10/01/97 next on 25/01/97. The top dressing of urea was done prior to irrigation.

The plot was irrigated shallowly on 26/12/96. No major insects and pests and disease infestation were observed in experimental crops. All crops were harvested in 25th March 1997 at full maturity. The data of different yield contributing characters were analyzed statistically[7].

The increase in productivity per unit area of mixed and intercrops was calculated in terms of land equivalent ratio (LER) using the following formula[8]:

Image for - Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat

Monetary advantage was used for economic performance of the mixed and intercrops. It was calculated using formula of Willey[9].

Image for - Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat


GR = Gross return and LER = Land equivalent ratio.

Image for - Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat


In lentil, the highest performance on plant height, branches/plant, fertile pods/plant, infertile pods/plant, seeds/plant and 1000 seeds weight were achieved in T4, T3, T10, T4, T10 and T4 successively (Table 1). In higher doses of mixed cropping and 2:1 and 3:1 intercropping yield contributing characters were decreased (Table 1). In case of fertile pods, infertile pods and 1000 seeds weight there was no significant difference among the treatments i.e. lentil yield potential and seed quality were not significantly affected by the mixed and intercropping in comparison with sole cropping (Broadcast and line sowing) treatment. The highest yield of lentil, 1278 kg ha-1 was obtained in sole line sowing (T10) which was followed by T1 (1201 kg ha-1), T3 (1175 kg ha-1), T4 (1070 kg ha-1) and the lowest yield (601 kg ha-1) was obtained from T5 i.e. Lentil 100+80% wheat i.e. in higher doses of mixed cropping decreases the yield (Table 1).

The yield reduction in mixed and intercropping might be due to shading effect of the taller wheat and higher competition for moisture, space and light and nutrition among the crop plants[10,11].

In case of wheat, the highest performance in the yield contributing characters like plant height, effective tillers plant-1, non effective tillers plant-1, panicle length, seeds plant-1 and 1000 seeds weight were achieved in T6, T4, T7, T5 and T8 successively. But effective tillers and seeds per plant were not significantly affected among the treatments (Table 2), which indicates some yield contributing characters are influence in higher doses of mixed and intercropping.

The highest wheat yield (2704 kg ha-1) was in T11 and the lowest (735 kg ha-1) was in T9. In both the crop the higher yield was achieved in line sowing than broadcast sowing. This may be due to higher aeration and desirable spread of canopy for efficient utilization of solar energy for photosynthesis[12].

In the mixed cropping treatments the different percentage of land equivalent ratio (6.00 to 52.00%)(Table 3) indicated that the mixed cropping increased the productivity per unit area in comparison with the sole cropping of lentil. In intercropping treatments the percentage of land equivalent ratio (12.00 to 17.00%) (Table 3) indicating the increased productivity but it was not identical. The performance of wheat in mixed cropping was higher than that of intercropping. This might be for beneficial action from the associated legumes. Some early pot studies suggested that legumes could excrete nitrogen from root nodules and thus benefit the associated cereals[13-15].

Table 1: Effect of mixed cropping and intercropping patterns on yield attributes of lentil.
Image for - Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat
Letters in a column indicate significant difference at 5% level by DMRT

Table 2: Effect of mixed cropping and intercropping patterns on yield attributes of wheat.
Image for - Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat
Letters in a column indicate significant difference at 5% level by DMRT

Table 3: Gross return (GR), Land equivalent ratio (LER), Monetary advantage and Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)
Image for - Evaluation of Mixed and Intercropping of Lentil and Wheat

In the different treatments it was clear that the lentil yield decreased due to mixed or intercropping (Table 1 and 2) but its land equivalent ratio increased in all the mixed/intercropping in relation to their sole crop (Table 3). The pattern of yield reduction collaborates with the results in other experiments of lentil mixed and intercropped with mustard[16] and lentil intercropped with wheat[17].

The highest monetary advantage was obtained (63%) in the treatment T3 i.e. Lentil 100+40% wheat. It was revealed that the treatment lentil 100% + wheat 40% had the highest land equivalent ratio (1.52) indicating 52% area advantage over sole cropping of lentil. The results showed that the highest gross return (27,759.00 Tk ha-1) was also recorded from the same treatment followed by lentil 100+20% wheat (i.e. in the treatment T2 scoring 24182.50 Tk ha-1). Moreover, the treatment contributed the highest benefit cost ratio (1.84) which was followed by lentil 100+20% wheat (1.61) (Table 3).

Mozibul et al.[10] reported similar results from lentil intercropping with jute. Gangwar and Karla[18] and Quayum[19] obtained the highest net income by intercropping of maize with legumes and maize with chickpea, respectively.

In conclusion, the mixed cropping of lentil with 40% wheat seed rate would be the appropriate seed rate with base crop lentil for higher total production and income and be remunerative to the farmers.


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7:  Gomez, K.A. and A.A. Gomez, 1983. Statistical Procedure for Agricultural Research. International Rice Research Institute, Manila, Philippines, pp: 200-215

8:  Anonymous, 1974. Agronomic and economic factors. International Rice Research Institute Annual Report 1973. Las Banos, Philippines, pp: 28-34.

9:  Willey, R.W., 1979. Intercropping: Its importance and research needs. Part I. Competition and yield advantage. Field Crops Abstr., 32: 1-10.

10:  Islam, M.K.M., M.A. Samad, M.H.N. Khan, M.A. Rahman and M.L. Rahman, 1992. Economics of spices and pulse crop intercropping with off-season, seed crop of Corchorus olitorius jute. Bangladesh J. Jute Fibre Res., 17: 35-43.
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15:  Remison, S.U., 1978. Neighbor effects between maize and cowpea at various levels of N and P. Exp. Agric., 14: 205-212.

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