In India, the rice-based cropping system is a major food production system with rice as the first food crop. The cereal-based cropping system is low-yielding and highly nutrient exhaustive resulting in the declining of soil fertility. Summer/pre kharif fallowing leaves on the land fallow for entire season and production of the cropping system is declined. Hence, crops that can improve the fertility status should be included in the cropping system. Development of short duration thermal insensitive rice varieties has encouraged multiple cropping involving a wide range of crops. Diversification of rice-based cropping systems with inclusion of pulses/legumes and oilseeds in summer fallows is one of the options for horizontal expansion, as they are known to improve soil organic matter through biological nitrogen fixation, root exudates, leaf shedding and higher below ground biomass. The strategy for higher yields in the cropping system should be formulated using the combined application of organics, inorganics and biofertilizers coupled with the inclusion of crops in summer fallows for sustainable yields and preservation of soil health.
Part of the book: Plant Competition in Cropping Systems