The focus of this present study was to know the suitable intercrop for sequential intercropping with sugarcane in paired row planting system at Jamalpur and Pathakata, Nokla, Sherpur, area of Bangladesh. This study was conducted in cropping season 2014-2015 under six treatment combinations viz: T1: Paired row cane (PRC) sole, T2: PRC + potato – mungbean, T3: PRC + Peapod – mungbean, T4: PRC + bushbean – mungbean, T5: PRC + soybean – mungbean and T6: PRC + spinach – mungbean were tested where sugarcane variety was BSRI Akh 41. Most of the observed parameters showed significant differences except brix (%) in both the locations but paired row cane + potato – mungbean combination gave the highest cane yield (115.00 tha-1 and 116.50 tha-1), total adjusted cane yield (169.84 tha-1 and 178.5 tha-1), net return increase over PRC sole (140.61 % and 196.35 %) and BCR (3.12 and 3.28) in both the locations. The overall results under this study indicated that intercropping have a positive impact on cane yield and other yield contributing components and found profitable compared to sole sugarcane cultivation. Considering the total cost and economic return, different factors associated with production system and farmers’ liking, growing potato as first and mungbean as second intercrop with sugarcane in paired row planting system might be a profitable package.
Key words: Performance, intercropping, paired row system, benefit cost ratio
Introduction Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) is a vegetative propagated perennial crop. It is a cash crop, main source of white sugar and also source of jaggary (gur) in Bangladesh. It is a commercially important crop that accounts for approximately 65% of the global sugar production (Deho et al., 2002). Besides sugar production, it also produces numerous valuable by-products like alcohol, used in pharmaceutical products; ethanol, used as a fuel; bagasse; used for paper and chip board manufacturing; and used as a rich source of organic matter as well as nutrients for sustainable crop production (Majid, 2007). It is cultivated in many of the world countries with Brazil as a major producer followed by India, China, Thailand, Pakistan and Mexico (FAOSTAT, 2013). It is a long duration crop takes about 12-14 months from planting to harvesting which decreases economic return to the farmers compared to other crops from the same duration. To get higher economic return from sugarcane field, appropriate intercropping practices with short duration crops might be the alternative way to increase total yield, interim and higher monetary return. Intercropping is the practice of cultivating two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land per year (Guleria and Kumar, 2016) and have many advantages over sole cropping such as enhancement of efficient use of environmental factors (e.g., light, nutrient and soil moisture) and labors, reduces the adverse effect of various biotic and abiotic stress, provides the diversity of food, generates more income, offers insurance against crop failure, higher return and total productivity per unit area (Farhad et al., 2014). The growth rate of sugarcane during its initial stages (first 90-120 days) is rather slow, with the leaf canopy providing sufficient uncovered area for growing of other crops (Shahana et al., 2019). In paired rows system of sugarcane planting, two rows of cane are planted at 60 cm apart in a trench leaving 120-140 cm vacant space between two paired rows of cane (Alam et al., 2008). It has been reported that farmers grow a large