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Know About the High-Yielding Rubber Intercrops and How They Can be Grown

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

According to agronomists, black pepper or coffee are good for rubber intercrops. Sunlight is essential for long-standing crops like pepper coffee. The rubber plantation at present has very little sunlight. Therefore, the Rubber Board is of the view that minor modifications should be made to the existing rubber planting method. The board has also found a new planting method. 

At current market prices, farmers are relieved of the yield from intercrops rather than rubber cultivation. However, in the current system of planting, only four to four years of the planting of vegetables, banana and pineapple can be grown as intercrops. The planting of vegetables, banana and pineapple can be intercropped only for three to four years. 

By the fourth year, when the leaves are declining, the crops will not get enough sunlight, and growth and yields will decline. One solution to this is the new planting method, which was recently recommended by the Indian Rubber Research Center, after years of experimental observations. This planting method also has the advantage of being able to cultivate intercrops for a longer period of time without significantly reducing the number of seedlings.  

Of these, the rubber rows are considered to be two-row pairs. The spacing of two rows in each pair should be five meters. The spacing between rows of seedlings should be 3.2 m. Intercropping can be done for a long time as more sunlight is available between these two pairs of rows. In this method, 440 rubber seedlings can be planted per hectare. Vegetables and bananas which require more sunlight can be grown in the early years and in tubers like Elephant Foot Yam and Taro which grow in partial sunlight in later years. 

In the normal planting process, only three years of planting of latex can be yielded from intercrops like pineapple. However, in the new planting method, pineapple can be grown for up to seven years. Relatively higher yields can be expected from the long-term crops grown here, such as cocoa and coffee, as this planting method receives more sunlight between two pairs of rubber rows. 

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