Optimizing soybean integration in maize-dominated cropping systems for enhanced yield and resource efficiency

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Research Paper 11/03/2024
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Optimizing soybean integration in maize-dominated cropping systems for enhanced yield and resource efficiency

Muhammad Asad, Haroon Zaman Khan, Ummar Ali, Muhammad Atif Shabir, Muhammad Adil, Zhang Jing
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.24( 3), 7-19, March 2024.
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Maize holds paramount significance in Pakistan’s agricultural landscape but traditional maize farming faces challenges due to inefficient resource management and soil fertility depletion, this study delves into the transformative benefits of intercropping maize with soybeans. A field experiment employed a factorial arrangement. It evaluated maize planting geometries (MPG) – P1: Alternate single row on 75 cm apart ridges, P2: Alternate double rows on 75 cm apart ridges, and control (CK) treatments without soybean intercropping. Intercropping techniques (SIT) for soybeans included S1: Soybean for brown manuring at 30 days after sowing (DAS), S2: Soybean as fodder at 60 days after sowing (DAS), and S3: Soybean as a grain crop at maturity. Standard methods were employed to record soil health, growth, and yield parameters. Results indicate that the P1 geometry optimizes both maize and soybean production, significantly impacting various parameters. The most favorable outcomes, such as 217.33 cm plant height, 22.24 cm cob length, 4.63 cm cob diameter, 496.13 total grains per cob, 372.97 g 1000-grain weight, 19.10 t ha-1 maize yield, 10.76 t ha-1 soybean yield, and 2.9% harvest index (HI), are observed with soybean-maize treatments on alternate single rows at 75 cm apart ridges with no intercropping. Additionally, the highest Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) of 1.19 is achieved when intercropping in alternate single rows at 75 cm apart with soybean as a grain crop. The adoption of the P1S3 approach emerges as economically viable for Faisalabad’s farming community, offering a sustainable remedy to labor-intensive practices and soil fertility concerns in Pakistan.


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