A three-year experiment examined the possibility of increasing the cropping intensity of a medium-deep Alfisol (red soil) by using sequential, relay, ratoon or intercropping systems. It was found that a short-season mungbean (Vigna radiata) crop could be taken before the commonly-grown castor crop but that castor yields were reduced by the delayed sowing. If the castor was sown after the harvest of mungbean in a sequential system the profits were less than from a sole castor system. Relay-sowing the castor 20 days before the harvest of mungbean gave 9 $US ha−1 greater profit than sole castor, but this is probably not enough to justify the more intensive double crop system. On the other hand a reasonable yield of horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum) could be produced after an early pearl millet crop, giving a worthwhile extra profit of 21 $US ha−1 compared with sole pearl millet. Ratooning the sorghum gave ratoon yields that averaged only 14% of the first crop, so this system was not considered suitable for these lighter Alfisols.
Intercropping systems of pearl millet/groundnut, sorghum/pigeonpea and groundnut/pigeonpea gave average yield increases of 24, 47 and 46%, respectively, compared with both component crops grown separately. Compared with growing only the higher value sole crop, increases in profits were 16, 82 and 120 $US ha−1 for the same three systems, respectively. It is concluded that intercropping systems provide the best opportunity for increasing cropping intensity on medium-deep Alfisols.