|Regenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1992, 210 p.)|
|Cropping systems and post-harvest technologies|
Many farmers in the eastern hills can grow only one crop per year, mainly due to climatic limitations. Crops after the main maize crop suffer from drought or from an extended cold period reducing yields. The cold also delays harvest and the planting of the subsequent main maize crop.
Result of trials with farmers in the eastern hills have shown that various winter crops can be successfully relaycropped into maize. These crops include lentil, barley, wheat, fava bean, peas and possibly others. This system provides extra food and income for farm families, and extra fodder for their livestock at a time when fodder is normally scarce. Other benefit include
· Reduced soil erosion because soil is kept covered all winter.
· Increased manure from the livestock having more feed.
· Maize which is planted from April-May (depending upon availability of soil moisture) comes into reproductive stage during August/September.
· Minimal work (e.g., fuming soil before planting the winter crop) is required where seeds are either dibbled or broadcast. During August/September, one of the winter crops can be planted within the maize field.
· Weeds should be controlled in the maize crop to increase early growth of the relay crop.
· Slightly wider maize spacing will also enhance early growth of-the relay crop.
· Maize is harvested during September/October and other winter crops, depending on their maturity period, are harvested beginning from the end of February.
WHEN AND HOW TO PLANT WINTER CROPS WITH MAIZE
Characteristics of the crops that can be relay cropped include: early maturity, drought tolerance, and cold tolerance.