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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis)

Crop Management

Intercropping

Growing of intercrops necessitates soil disturbing tillage operations of various kinds. This will predispose the topsoil to erosion losses in steep and undulating lands. The growing of intercrops, therefore has to be restricted to level lands and gentle slopes. Even in such lands it should be ensured that leguminous cover crops are established side by side with intercrops or immediately after the intercropping is stopped.

The common intercrops cultivated in rubber plantations

Banana

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During the first year, 1200 plants per hectare can be grown in a double row system at 2 m x 2 m spacing. The stand should be restricted to 600 during the second year in a single row system. Non-ratoon types like Nendran is suitable as intercrop during the initial two years. Ratoon types like Palayankodan, Poovan etc. should be planted in a single row and only one sucker should be retained during the second year. The pseudostem, leaves and mother rhizome left after harvest can be used for mulching the rubber plant.

Pineapple

Pineapple can be grown as intercrop during the initial four years. Two or three rows of pineapple suckers are planted along the inter-rows of rubber in trenches during the year of planting of rubber.

In sloppy lands, the trenches should be taken across the slope parallel to the contour terraces to reduce soil erosion.

Proper manuring using organic and chemical fertilizers is necessary to ensure high yield and to prevent depletion of soil fertility. Pineapple, once planted, will give fruits for a period of about four years.

Ginger and turmeric

Since thorough digging of the soil is required for the cultivation of these crops, they may be grown only on level and near level lands. Heavy application of cattle manure or compost and organic mulches are important in the cultivation of these crops. They can be grown for the initial two years.

Vegetables

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Vegetables like cowpea, cucumber, ladies finger, amaranth etc. can be grown during the initial 2-3 years with proper addition of organic manures.

Medicinal plants

Shade tolerant medicinal plants like Strobilanthus haenianus (Karimkurinji), Adathoda vasica (Valiya adalodakam) and Plumbago rosea (Chuvanna Koduveli) are found suitable for cultivation in rubber plantations.

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