A series of experiments was designed to evaluate a wide range of possible cropping systems for deep Vertisols of the Indian semi-arid tropics. The introduction of a rainy season maize crop, compared with traditional fallowing, had little effect on the yields of post-rainy season crops of sorghum, chickpea and pigeonpea. Introducing a rainy season sorghum crop caused severe yield reductions of post-rainy season crops in one year but only slight reductions in two subsequent years. Intercrop systems of maize/pigeonpea or sorghum/pigeonpea, and a three-crop system of maize/pigeonpea/chickpea, appeared very promising. Gross returns were usually much higher for the improved systems that utilized both the rainy and post-rainy seasons, though differences in net returns were not quite so great because of the extra costs of growing the additional rainy season crops.
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