The performance of cotton (cu. SATU-85) grown in five intercropping systems: cotton and beans (cu. K-20) planted simultaneously (C1L1); cotton planted two or four weeks prior to beans (C1L2 and C1L4); and beans planted two or four weeks prior to cotton (L1C2 and L1C4 respectively), were compared with monocropped cotton C1, C2 and C4 planted on different dates at two weekly intervals was studied during the growing season of 1990 and 1993 in Uganda.
Intercropping significantly (P < 0.05) reduced cotton plant height, and number of monopodia and sympodia. At cotton picking time, after the bean harvest, no significant difference was observed in number of cotton bolls under the different cropping systems. Intercropping cotton with beans simultaneously increased the number of total fruiting positions (TFPs) compared with monocropped cotton. Seed cotton yields from the different cropping systems were 2045, 2250, 2220, 2691, 1982, 2036, 1708 and 2090 kg/ha for C1L1, C1L2, C1L4, C1, L1C2, C2, L1C4 and C4, respectively. Highest land equivalent ratios (LER) occurred when cotton was planted two weeks after beans (1.71), four weeks after beans (1.53) and simultaneously with beans (1.32) whereas planting cotton two or four weeks before beans gave the lowest LERs (1.07 and 1.03 respectively). Intercropping cotton and beans is, therefore, advantageous only when cotton is either planted simultaneously or after beans.