Soil Chemical Properties and Production of Physic Nut Intercropped With Forage Plants and Grain Crops

  •  João Alfredo Neto da Silva    
  •  Cristiano Márcio Alves de Souza    
  •  Sálvio Napoleão Soares Arcoverde    
  •  Carlos Hissao Kurihara    
  •  Cesar José da Silva    


Intercropping cover plants with physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) may be a viable strategy for improving soil quality and sustaining the yield of this oilseed crop. However, one of the main challenges facing prolonged cropping of physic nut is the lack of information regarding the agronomic practices of the crop in intercropping systems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of cropping systems with cover plants and grain crops on the soil chemical properties and cumulative production of physic nut grain and oil. Eleven cropping systems and two evaluations were conducted in a split-plot arrangement on a dystrophic red latosol (Latossolo Vermelho Distrófico) in the municipality of Dourados. Growing cover plants or grain crops between the rows of physic nut did not provide significant increases in the cumulative production of grain and of oil over growing physic nut alone. There was reduction in the availability of nutrients, especially P and K, through growing Campo Grande Stylosanthes, U. humidicola, and Crotalaria. However, the beneficial effects of intercropping related to maintaining soil cover and the possibility of increasing the profitability of cropping physic nut from the production of forage crops and grains should be considered. Although the results did not show a significant increase in physic nut production in intercropping systems, the approach still offers opportunities to improve agricultural sustainability, crop diversification, and long-term profitability.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.