Alley – Cropping And Its Advantages
Alley cropping is a system in which food crops are grown in alleys formed by hedge rows of trees or shrubs.
The essential feature of the system is that hedge rows are cut back at planting and kept pruned during cropping to prevent shading and to reduce competition with food crops.
1. It provides higher total biomass per unit area than arable crops alone.
2. It utilizes off – season precipitation which otherwise would go waste,.
3. It provides green fodder during the lean period of fodder availability.
4. It provides additional employment opportunities during the off season.
5. When planted along the contours on a sloppy land, it provides a barrier to run off water holds the silt and conserves moisture. Or
Alley cropping is a farming system in which arable crops are grown in alleys formed by trees or shrubs established mainly to hasten soil fertility restoration and enhance soil productivity.
Objectives of Alley – cropping:
The main objective of alley cropping is to get green and palatable fodder from hedge rows in the dry season and produce reasonable quantum of grain and Stover in the alleys during the rainy / cropping season.
Alley – cropping – a version of agro – forestry system, could meet the multiple requirements of food, fodder, fuel and fertilizers etc.
Three Versions (Types) of Alley cropping:
Three versions of alley cropping system, based on different objectives are.
1. Forage alley cropping.
2. Forage – cum – mulch alley cropping
3. Forage – cum – pole alley cropping
In all the three systems crops are grown in the alleys and forage is obtained from lopping of hedge rows. Two components from an essential part of the system these are at the hedge rows b) the crop grown in the alley.