what is the difference between multiple cropping and intercropping?

Mixed cropping or multiple croping is the technique wherein two or more crops are sown simultaneously on the same land, without any definite pattern. This system minimizes the risk of crop failure. Crop combinations grown in this manner include wheat and gram, wheat and mustard, and groundnut and sunflower. 

The crops selected to be grown together are such that their products and waste materials benefit one another. For example, if wheat is grown along with a leguminous crop such as gram, then the uptake of nitrogen from the soil by the wheat crop is compensated through the addition of nitrogen to the soil by the leguminous crop.

Mixed cropping not only increases soil fertility but also improves crop productivity.


Intercropping is the process wherein two or more crops are grown simultaneously in the same field in a definite pattern. In this process, a few rows of one crop alternate with a few rows of another crop. Crop combinations grown in this way include cauliflower and spinach, soya bean and maize, and bajra and lobia

The crops grown together are such that their nutrient requirements are different. This ensures that the crops do not compete for the same nutrients, which in turn allows maximum utilization of the applied nutrients by each individual crop. 

Intercropping helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases throughout the field. It also reduces soil erosion.

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Sr. No

Inter Cropping

Mixed Cropping


The main object is to utilize the space left between two rows of main crop

To get at least one crop under favorable conditions


More emphasis is given to the main crop

All crops are cared equally


There is no competition between both crops

There is competition between all crops growing


Inter crops are of short duration are harvested much earlier than main

The crops are almost of the same duration


Sowing time may be same or different

It is same for all crops


Crops are sown in different rows without affecting the population of main crop when sown as sole crop

Either sown in rows or mixed without considering the population of either

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