Intercropping Snap Beans with Non-legume Crops Controls Pests, Increases Profit
Say goodbye to pesticides because there is now an effective, economical and safer way to control major insect pests of snap beans.
Through our study entitled Intercropping Studies of Snap Beans in Ifugao and Its Effects on Major Insect Pests and Yield, Elmer P. Comaad and this author have found out that intercropping snap beans with green onions, ampalaya, bell pepper and tomato effectively controls pod borer, leaf miner and bean fly.
This is because the crops are shielding each other from the impact of airborne pathogens and vectors. The insect pests are only used to the smell of their host crop if this is planted as monocrop. So when other crops are combined or intercropped with the host, the crops produce a different aroma, which gives the pests difficulty locating their host.
For our study, which was conducted from July 2004 to February 2005 at the Ifugao State College of Agriculture in Nayon, Lamut, Ifugao, the following treatments were used:
Treatment A: Snap beans + Tomato + Onions
Treatment B: Snap beans +Ampalaya + Tomato
Treatment C: Snap beans + Green Onion + Bell pepper
Treatment D: Snap beans + Green Onion + Ampalaya
Treatment E: Snap beans in pure stand (control)
We also utilized 670 square meters of the college’s model farm and followed the randomized complete block design for the said experimental area. Each block was divided into 40 plots measuring I x 4 meters. In each block also, four plots were left vacant to give a wider space between the treated plants and the control.
In each plot, two furrows were made with a distance of 30 cm between furrows. A vacant plot was also provided for each treatment to avoid shading. Twenty bags of chicken dung were applied six days before sowing the snap beans and ampalaya, and transplanting the bell pepper, tomato and green onions. The snap beans was sown simultaneously with the crops identified in each treatment at the rate of two seeds per hill at a distance of 30 cm between hills and 30 cm between furrows. And two weeks after germination, we mixed 25 kg of Urea (46-0-0) and 25 kg of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) and applied the mixture as side dressed at the rate of I tsp per hill.
Aside from fertilizer application, we have also done other proper management practices such as hilling up, trellising, pruning and weeding during the conduct of the study.
After conducting the research, we found out that ampalaya and tomato intercrop significantly reduced the damage caused by bean flies. Tomato and green onions intercrop, on the other hand, effectively lessened the damage caused by leaf miner. And the green onions and bell pepper intercrop effectively decreased the damage caused by pod borer.
The net income from 1 hectare of tomatoes and green onions intercrop is P59,895.83, P117,602.16 for the ampalaya and tomatoes intercrop, P127,994.79 for the green onions and bell pepper intercrop, P120,468.79 for the green onions and ampalaya intercrop, and P27,078 for snap beans planted in pure stand.
With these facts, we have concluded that by intercropping snap beans with non-legume crops, farmers could produce pesticide-free and highly marketable crops.
According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Lagawe, Ifugao in 1998, farmers spend 35 percent, more or less, of their capital for pesticides. This is because farmers think that pesticide application is necessary in order to earn big.
But if farmers will have a sound understanding of the intercropping scheme, they will not only save money from the costs of pesticide and labor. They will also enjoy a bigger profit and safeguard the environment and the health of the consumers.