Study of ecological aspects of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) and Mung Bean (Vigna radiata L.) intercropping in weed control

Document Type : مقالات پژوهشی


Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


Weed infestation causes an extremely reduction of crops yield. On the other hand, increasing the diversity of crops in agro-ecosystems will change the biomass distribution of weeds community, thereby reducing the number and density of different weed species. Weed management in the past few decades has been in conflict with ecological principles and sustainability of the production systems. As well as, it has changed from the one dimensional methods to integrated techniques based on the various non-chemical methods. Generally, weed management is possible through agronomical, mechanical and biological techniques in addition to chemical methods. One of these non-chemical methods is intercropping which has been used in farming systems since many years ago. The ability of intercropping systems to compete with weeds and proper control of weeds depends on various factors, including the composition of plants, varieties, density or proportion of intercropping and soil fertility. Besides, reduction of vacant niches and available resources for the growth of weeds are also reduce the ability of weeds invasion. So, the weed control in intercropping is much more effective than when the plants are planted alone. Majority of studies in recent years show that most of these researches have been performed in order to achieve maximum crops yield and its environmental effects is not considered. So, this research was aimed to investigate the effect of Sesame and Mung bean intercropping on yield, yield components, weed control, and determination of the best intercropping proportion in comparison with sole cropping in Mashhad, Iran.

Materials and Methods
This research was carried out to investigate the ecological aspects of substitution intercropping of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) and Mung bean (Vignaradiata L.) in the presence and absence of weed control. The experiment was arranged as a split plot based on a randomized complete block design with three replications at research farm of faculty of agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, during 2013 and 2014 growing seasons. The main plots included five treatments: sole Sesame, sole Mung bean, 3:1 intercropping (75% sesame-25% Mung bean), 1:1 intercropping (50% sesame-50% Mung bean), 1:3 intercropping (25% sesame-75% Mung bean), and sub plots were two levels of weed control (Weedy and weed-free). In order to implement an ecological and low input system, no chemicalinputs (fertilizers and pesticides) was applied. Weeds were harvested every 15 days corresponding to 4 harvests during the days after sowingand after separating were counted based on the type of species.
To determine the variation of weeds, Shannon index was used, according to below equation:
H'=-Σni/N×Ln ni/N
H': Shannon index, ni: the number of the desired weed species and N: total number of weeds.
At the end of the growing season plant height,number of inflorescences per plant, number of grains per inflorescence and 1000 grain weight were determined for each plant. Grain yield, biological yield and harvest index were also calculated.
To compare the performance of intercropping treatments, land equivalent ratio (LER) was used, according to below equation:
LER= Ʃ Ypi/Ymi
Ypi: yield of each plant in intercropping, Ymi: yield of each plant in sole cropping.
The data statistical analysis and draw the figures were performed by SAS, Version 9.1 and Excel. Means were also compared by Duncan’s multiple range test at the 5% probability level.

Results and Discussion
Results indicated that 3:1 intercropping treatment (75% sesame-25% Mung bean) had the lowest relative weed density. Shannon index was the lowest for 3:1 treatment (75% sesame-25% Mung bean). Plant height, number of inflorescence per plant, number of seeds per inflorescence, seed yield, biological yield, and harvest index represented a significant difference between weedy and weed-free treatments in both plants. Land equivalent ratio (LER) among the different patterns of intercropping showed that the amount of this ratio in weed-free treatments was greater than one, especially in comparison with weedy treatments. Results of the weedy treatments also showed that the amount of LER was only in 3:1 intercropping treatment (75% sesame-25% Mung bean) greater than one (1/04 in 2013 and 1/38 in 2014).

Therefore, intercropping systems can be used as an ecological approach to reduce the use of herbicides in agriculture. It also can be as a suitable alternative to prevent the accumulation of chemical inputs in the environment.

Key words: Ecological control, Evaluation of diversity, Land equivalent ratio, Weed density


1. Anil, L., Park, J., Phipps, R.H., and Miller, F.A. 1998. Temperate intercropping of cereals for forage: a review of thepotential for growth and utilization with particular reference to the UK. Grass Forage Sciences 53: 301-317.
2. Asadi, H. 2007. Effect of intercropping on growth indices and yield components of Sesame (Sesamumindicum L.) and Bean (Phaseolousvulgaris L.). MSc. Thesis. Department of agriculture. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. (In Persian with English summary).
3. Ayneh Band, A. 2007. The Ecology of Agroecosystems. Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz Press. Iran. P. 374. (In Persian).
4. Azam-Ali, S.N., Mathews, R.B., Williams, J.H., and Peacock, M. 1990. Light use, water uptake and performance of individual components of a Sorghum-Groundnut intercrop. Experimental Agriculture 26: 413-417.
5. Babiker, A.G.T., and Hamdoun, A.M. 1990. Towards an integrated strategy for Striga hermonthica in Sorghum. pp 333-338. In: Proc. Earsam 7thRegional Workshop on Sorghum and Millet Improvement in Eastern Africa.
6. Bakhtiari Moghaddam, M., Vazan, S., Hamidi, A., Darvishi, B., Esfini Farahani, M., Aziz Khani, S., and Rezaee, K. 2012. The effect of Mungbean (Vignaradiata L.) living mulch on weeds management and yield and yield components of Corn (Zeamays L.). Journal of Crop Science 8(3): 57-67. (In Persian).
7. Bilalis, D., Papastylianou, P., Konstantas, A., Patsiali, S., Karkanis, A., and Efthimiadou, A. 2010. Weed-suppressive effects of maize-legume intercropping in organic farming. International Journal of Pest Management 56(2): 173-181.
8. Black, C., and Ong,C. 2000. Utilisation of light and water in tropical agriculture. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 104: 25-47.
9. Chao Dai, C., Chen, Y., Xing-Xiang, W., and Pei-Dong, L. 2012. Effects of intercropping ofPeanut with the medicinal plant Atractylodes lancea on soil microecology and Peanut yield in subtropical China. Agroforestry Systems 87(2): 417-426.
10. Dhingra, K.K., Dhillon, M.S., Grewal, D.S., and Sharma, K. 1991. Performance of Maize and Mung bean intercropping in different planting patterns and row orientations. Indian Journal of Agronomy 36: 207-212.
11. El-Gengaihi. S., and Ab-Dallah, N. 1978. The effect of date of sowing and plant spacing on yield of seed and volatile oil of fennel (Foniculumvulgare Mill). Pharmazie 33: 605-606.
12. Eskandari, H., and Kazemi, K. 2011. Weed control in Maize-Cowpea intercropping system related to environmental resources consumption. Notulae Scientia Biologicae 3(1):57-60.
13. Fernandez-Aparicio, M., Emeran, A.A., and Rubiales, D. 2008. Control of Orobanchecrenata in legumesintercropped with fenugreek (Trigonellafoenum-graecum). Crop Protection 27: 653-659.
14. Ghorbani, M., Yazdani, S., and Zare Mirak Abadi, H. 2010. The Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture (Economic Approaches). Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Publications. P. 538. (In Persian).
15. Gliessman, S.R. 1997. Agroecology: Ecological Processes in Sustainable Agriculture. Arbor Press 357 pp.
16. Grossman, J., and Quarles, W. 1993. Strip intercropping for biological control. IPM Practitioner 15(2): 1-11.
17. Haruna, M., Aliyu, L., and Maunde, S.M. 2013. Competitive behavior of Groundnut in Sesame/Groundnut intercropping system under varying poultry manure rates and planting arrangement. Sustainable Agriculture Research 2(3): 22-26.
18. Hauggaard-Nielsen, H., and Jensen, E.S. 2001. Evaluation pea and barley cultivars for complementarity in intercropping at different levels of soil N availability. Field Crops Research 72: 185-196.
19. Hornok, L. 1992. Cultivation and Processing of Medicinal Plants. Academic publ. Budapest, pp. 338.
20. Iqbal, J., Cheema, Z.A., and An, M. 2007. Intercropping of field crops in cotton for the management of purple nutsedge(Cyperusrotundus L.). Plant and Soil 300: 163-171.
21. Koocheki, A., and Khajeh Hosseini, M., 2008. Modern Agronomy. 2nd Edition. Jahad Daneshgahi of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. P. 704. (In Persian).
22. Koocheki, A., Hosseini, M., and Hashemi Dezfuli, A. 1995. Sustainable Agriculture (translated). Jahad-e Daneshgahi of Mashhad Press. pp. 118 (In Persian).
23. Koocheki, A., Nassiri Mahallati, M., Feyzi, H., Amirmoradi, S., and Mandani, F. 2010. Effect of Maize and Bean strip intercropping on dry matter yield and land equivalent ratio in the presence and absence of weed control. Journal of Agroecology. 2(2): 225-235. (InPersian).
24. Koocheki, A., Nassiri Mahallati, M., Khorramdel, S., Anvarkhah, S., Sabet Teymouri, M., and Sanjani, S. 2010. Study of growth indices in substitution and additive intercropping of Canabis (Cannabissativa L.) and Sesame (Sesamumindicum L.). Journal of Agroecology 2(1): 27-36. (In Persian).
25. Koocheki, A., Shabahang, J., Khorramdel, S., and Amin Ghafouri, A. 2012. Ecological study of different patterns Borage (Boragoofficinalis L.) and Bean (Phaseolusvulgaris L.) substitution intercropping. Journal of Agroecology 4(1): 1-11 (In Persian).
26. Kropff, M.J., and Spitters, C.J.T. 1991. A simple model of crop loss by weed competition from early observations on relative leafe area of the weeds. Weed Research 31: 97-105.
27. Mandal, B.K., Dhara, M.C., Mandal, B.B., Das, S.K., and Nandy, R., 1990. Rice, Mung bean, Soybean and Blackgram yield under different intercropping systems. Agronomy Journal 82: 1063-1066.
28. Mazaheri, D. 1996. Support production in intercropping. 4th Irainian Crop Science Congress. Isfahan University of Technology. (In Persian).
29. Mesgaran,M.B., Mashhadi, H.R., Khosravi,M., Zand,E., and Alizadeh, M.H. 2008. Weed community response to Saffron-Black Zira intercropping. Weed Science Society of America 56(3): 400-407.
30. Mutungamiri, A., Margia, I.K., and Chivinge, O.A. 2001. Evaluation of maize (Zeamays L.) cultivars and density for dryland maize-bean intercropping. Tropical Agriculture 78(1): 8-12.
31. Nachigera, G.M., Ledent, J.F., and Draye, X. 2008. Shoot and root competition in potato/maize intercropping effects on growth and yield. Environmental and Experimental Botany 64(2):180-188.
32. Nassiri Mahallati, M., Koocheki, A., Rezvani Moghaddam, P., andBeheshti, A., 2001. Agroecology (translated). Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Publication. pp. 459 (In Persian).
33. Nazari, S., Zand, A., Asadi, S., and Golzardi, F. 2012. Effect of substitution and additive intercropping sries of corn and Mung bean on yield, yield components and weeds biomass. Journal of Weeds Research 4(2): 97-109 (In Persian).
34. Odhiambo, G.D., and Ariga, E.S. 2001. Effect of intercropping Maize and Beans on Striga incidence and grain yeild. 7th Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Maize Conference. 183-186.
35. Pandita, A.K., Saha, M.H., and Bali, A.S., 2000. Effect of row ratio in cereal-legume intercropping systems onproductivity and competition functions under Kashmir conditions. Indian Journa of Agronomy45: 48-53.
36. Pour Amir, F., Nassiri Mahallati, M., Koocheki, A., and Ghorbani, R. 2010. Study of different patterns of sowing on yield and yield components of Sesame (Sesamumindicum L.) and Chickpea (Cicerarietinum L.) in additive intercropping. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 8(3): 393-402 (In Persian).
37. Putnam, D.H., and Allen, D.L. 1992. Mechanism for over yielding in Sunflower-Mustard intercrop. Agronomy Journal 84: 188-195.
38. Rahimian, H., Salahi Moghaddam, M., and Galvi, M. 1992. Intercropping of potato with corn and sunflower. Agriculture Science and Technology Journal 9(1): 48-58 (In Persian).
39. Rezvani Moghaddam, P., Raoofi, M.R., Rashed Mohassel, M.H., and Moradi, R. 2009. Evaluation of sowing patterns and weed control on Mung bean (Vignaradiata L. Wilczek)- Black cumin (Nigellasativa L.) intercropping system. Journal of Agroecology 1(1): 65-79 (In Persian with English Summary).
40. Rostami, L., Mondani, F., Khorramdel, S., Koocheki, A., and Nassiri Mahallati, M. 2009. Effect of various Corn and Bean intercropping densities on crop yield and weed populations. Journal of Weeds Research 1(2): 37-51 (In Persian).
41. Sadeghi, S., Rahnavard,A., and Ashrafi, Z.2005. Effect of planting date and plant density on yield of Black cumin. International Journal of Biological Research2(2): 94-98.
42. Sanjani, S., Hosseini, M.B., Chaichi, M.R., and Rezvan Beydokhti, S. 2009. Effect of additive intercropping sorghum:cowpea on weed biomass and density in limited irrigation system. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 7(1): 85-95. (In Persian).
43. Sarkar, R.K., and Kundu, C. 2001. Sustainable intercropping system of sesame (sesamumindicum) with pulse and oilseed crops on rice fallow land. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 71(2): 545-550.
44. Sastawa, B.M., Lawan M., and Maina, Y.T. 2004. Management of insect pests ofsoybean: effects of sowing date andintercropping on damage and grain yield in the Nigerian Sudan savanna. Crop Protection 23: 155-161.
45. Shaygan, M., Mazaheri, D., Rahimian Mashhadi, H., and Peyghambari, S.A. 2008. Effect of planting date and intercropping Maize (Zeamays L.) and Foxtail millet (Setariaitalica L.) on their grain yield and weeds control. Iranian Journal of Crop Science 10:31-46 (In Persian with English Summary).
46. Song, Y.N., Zhang, F.S., Marschner, P., Fan, F.L., Gao, H.M., Bao, X.G., Sun, J.H., and Li, L. 2007. Effect of intercropping on crop yield and chemical and microbiological properties in rhizosphere of wheat (Triticumaestivum L.), maize (Zeamays L.), and faba bean (Viciafaba L.). Biology and Fertility of Soils 43: 565-574.
47. Spliid, N.H., Carter, A., and Helweg, A. 2004. Non-agricultural use of pesticides-environmental issues and alternatives. Pest Management Science60:523.
48. Trydemanknudsen, M., Hauggard-Nielsen, H., Jornsgard, B., and Steenjensen, E. 2004. Comparison of interspecific competition and N Use in Pea-Barely, Faba bean-Barley and Lupin-Barley intercrops grown at two temperate locations. Journal of Agricultural Science (Camb.) 142: 617-627.
49. Zhang, F., andLi, L. 2003. Using competitive and facilitative interactions in intercropping systems enhances crop productivity and nutrient use efficiency. Plant Soil 248: 305-312.
50. Zhang, N.N., Mei Sun, Y., Li, L., Tao Wang, E., Xin Chen, W., and Li Yuan, H. 2010. Effects of intercropping and Rhizobium inoculation on yield and rhizosphere bacterial community of faba bean (Viciafaba L.). Biology and Fertility of Soils46: 625-639.