ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 78 Number 3
Performance of areca-based highdensity multispecies cropping system under different levels of fertilizer. (152)
An arecanut (Areca catechu Linn.) based high-density multispecies cropping system (HDMSCS) model was studied under three levels of fertilizer management, i.e., full, two-thirds, and onethird dose of recommended fertilizers for productivity. The component crops included in the system were pepper (cv. Panniyur) trained on arecanut palms, banana (cv. Cheni Champa) in a triangular system (5.4 m x 2.7 m), turmeric (cv. Kasturi) spaced 30 cm x 30 cm, and pineapple (cv. Queen) in two rows spaced 60 cm x 30 cm between two palms of arecanut. Nine years of mean economic yield revealed that the full dose of recommended fertilizer application resulted in higher production with arecanut chali yield of 2405 kg ha-1, dry pepper yield of 1252 kg ha-1, pineapple fruit yield of 988 kg ha-1, and turmeric yield of 2127 kg ha-1. However, the banana yield did not vary much between the full and two-thirds dose of fertilizers (6331 kg to 6313 kg ha-1). Under one-third dose of fertilizers, all the crops realized the lowest yields with arecanut chali yield of 1975 kg ha-1; pepper, 1051 kg ha-1; banana, 5165 kg ha-1; pineapple, 543 kg ha-1; and turmeric, 1801 kg ha-1. The net returns under graded levels of fertilizers for the mean of nine years data revealed that application of full dose of fertilizers resulted in higher net returns of Rs 324 548 (U.S. $6801.00) ha-1 yr-1. The major share was derived from the main crop of arecanut (48%) followed by the component crop of pepper (43%). Other crops contributed the remaining 8.9%. The pineapple cultivation was found to be uneconomical as a component crop in the areca-based HDMSCS model.
Keywords: Arecanut; HDMSCS; Cropping systems; Fertilizers; Economic returns