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Investigación Agraria

On-line version ISSN 2305-0683


RASCHE ALVAREZ, Jimmy Walter et al. Castor bean intercropped with annual crops: an option for family farming. Investig. Agrar. [online]. 2015, vol.17, n.1, pp.27-35. ISSN 2305-0683.

Castor bean Ricinus communis L., due to its agro-ecological features, is suitable for family farming. A randomized complete block test was carried out at the district of Escobar, department of Paraguari, Paraguay, between August 2007 and July 2009, in order to assess the feasibility of intercropping castor bean with annual crops, with seven treatments and three repetitions. The treatments were T1: maize monoculture; T2: bean monoculture; T3: cotton monoculture; T4: castor bean monoculture; T5: Castor bean intercropped with maize; T6: Castor bean intercropped with bean; T7: castor bean intercropped with cotton. The following were measured:  Primary bunch height, castor bean plant height in the first year and castor bean, maize, beans and cotton yield, both in monoculture and in association with other crops, as well as the association efficiency measured with the Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) in the two years. The highest peaks of primary branch height and the final height of plants were obtained in castor bean in association with maize (149 cm) and castor bean in association with cotton (215 cm) respectively, assessed in the first year of the study. Castor bean yield in monoculture and intercropped during the same year showed slight variation, ranging between 963 and 1059 kg ha-1. In the second year, lower production was obtained in castor bean intercropped with maize (898 kg ha-1) and with cotton (809 kg ha-1) than that obtained with monoculture (1056 kg ha-1). LER results in the two years showed that castor bean intercropped with cotton, maize or bean, leads to a more efficient land use.

Keywords : Ricinus communis L.; intercropped systems; land equivalent ratio; maize; beans; cotton.

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