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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Coconut (Cocosnucifera)

Crop Management

Intercropping and Mixed Cropping

Schedules for inter/mixed cropping may be drawn up based on the canopy size, age and spacing of palms. In general, palms in the age group of 8-25 years are not suitable for inter and mixed cropping. However, cereals and tapioca are recommended as intercrops in young coconut plantation up to 3-4 years. Since ginger and turmeric are shade tolerant crops with shallow roots, they can be intercropped in coconut garden even in the age group of 15-25 years. It ensures better land utilization, solar energy harvesting, efficient water use, utilization of soil nutrient resources, more returns and an insurance against crop failure. Under conditions of wider spacing i.e. beyond 7.6 m, intercropping is possible irrespective of the age of the palms.

The following crops are recommended as intercrops.

Cereals : Rice, maize

Legumes and pulses : Groundnut, horse gram, cowpea

Tubers : Tapioca, sweet potato, yams, colocasia

Spices and condiments : Ginger, turmeric, chilly, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove

Fruit plants : Banana, pineapple, papaya. (Banana variety Palayankodan is recommended in the reclaimed soils of Kuttanad. Three suckers per clump have to be retained).

Beverage crop : Cocoa

Fodder grasses : Hybrid Napier, guinea grass

In all cases, separate application of adequate fertilizers and manures to the individual crop is essential.

Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) may be planted as single row intercrop, between rows of coconut during the first year of planting coconut seedlings in pits of size 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm spacing of 2m. The casuarina poles will be ready for felling/ harvesting within 5-6 years of planting.

Crop cafeteria for multiple cropping in coconut garden is as follows:

Perennials : Cocoa, nutmeg, pepper, clove, lemongrass and cinnamon.

Annuals :

  • Kharif: Rice, maize, groundnut, ginger, turmeric, chilli, yams, colocasia, red gram, vegetables, sweet potato, tapioca, banana, pineapple, papaya and fodder grass.

  • Rabi: Sesame, horse gram, red gram, vegetables, cowpea, sweet potato and banana.

  • Summer: Vegetables

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