Double Cropping : Benefits And Tips For Choosing Suitable Crops

Double cropping is a common practice among farmers in tropical and subtropical areas. Using this method, many farmers expand and diversify their farming operations. It increases crop yield and harvested area without expanding physical cropland. What does the term “double cropping” mean?

Double cropping is growing two crops on the same land in a single growing season. It involves planting one crop at a time. Multiple cropping is growing two or more crops in the same field in a year. Intercropping is the simultaneous planting of several crops.

The Yangzi River region began practicing double cropping about a thousand years ago. Brazilian agriculture uses double cropping for maize, peanuts, potatoes, and beans.

How Does Double Cropping Work?

Farmers use double cropping to generate more than one crop per year from the same land. Double cropping enhances the efficiency of agricultural systems. It allows the use of vacant land for other purposes or biodiversity. 

Double cropping protects the soil from wind and water erosion. Its root biomass builds organic matter in the ground, increasing fertility. Double cropping can improve soil tilth in the long run. 

When compared to monoculture, double cropping reduces pests and diseases. It helps keep the soil fertile and control weeds. Double cropping heightens harvest per unit of land. This approach aids in supplying a balanced diet to families across the globe.

The mutual relationship within the crop reduces weed growth, pest, and disease infestation. As a result, farmers can manage their farms better and earn a higher income. Large-scale adoption of double cropping can help a country reduce its food crisis.

What Crops Can Be Double-Cropped?

Soybean, sorghum, and sunflower are the most common options for double cropping. The other choices include specialty crops like proso millet and summer annual forages. Corn and summer crops with a short growing season are also acceptable substitutes.

A wheat-soybean double crop shows many improvements in profits and cash flow stability. It can yield extra revenue from a second crop on the same land base. Soybeans are a common spring crop in double-cropped rotations combined with winter wheat.

Summer corn silage and soybeans are helpful for double-cropping winter small grains. Double cropping increases silage yields. Double-cropping in winter, besides the main crop in summer, double silage yields.


What Makes Double Cropping Important?

Farmers can double their crop productivity and income using double cropping. It broadens the scope of land usage and farming diversity. Nations can promote double cropping to boost food security and supply. It is a helpful tactic to aid in feeding the world’s expanding population. 

Double cropping can limit the environmental consequences of cropland expansion. As a result of the shaded soil surface, double-cropping reduces spring evaporation. Growing two crops on the same field reduces fertilizer, irrigation, and labor costs.

The use of least tillage promotes soil tilth and conserves organic matter in the soil. A living mulch acts as a barrier against erosion and weeds. Reduced fallow periods lessen weed reproduction. Double cropping ensures efficient use of manure and fertilizer residues.

What Methods Should I Follow For Effective Double Cropping?

During planting, it is crucial to burn down summer-annual weeds present. If glyphosate-resistant kochia and pigweeds are present, apply alternative treatments like paraquat.

Remove spring crop residue to reduce plant and human pathogen risk. Deter the breeding of harmful insects and rodents. Before planting the second crop, fumigate the soil if pests could pose a threat.

During the interval between the two crops, keep watering the beds. When you plant the second crop, it will guarantee even water distribution over the entire bed.

Find out each crop’s fertilizer needs when double cropping. As with regular farming, take a soil sample to identify nutrient deficits. Ensure the necessary nutrient is available for your second crop.

How Do I Choose The Right Crop To Double Crop?

Select crops from various plant families to prevent the spread of diseases. Insects that affect crops within the same family tend to be similar. Crop rotation improves drainage, aeration, and soil structure. Growing the same plant in the same place can deplete the soil of nutrients.

Squash, broccoli, or cabbage are suitable fall crops to grow after tomatoes. Peppers, tomatoes, or broccoli can follow watermelons and other cucurbits.

Double Cropping Options After Wheat

Double cropping after wheat harvest can be a high-risk effort for several reasons. The short growing season, heat, or dry conditions in July or August can create problems. Double cropping is more susceptible to moisture and weather changes.

Think about the possibilities for herbicide carryover

Consider herbicide carryover when planting a double crop after wheat. Herbicides applied to wheat can remain in the soil after harvesting.

If you have used a herbicide like chlorsulfuron or metsulfuron. : the most tolerant double crop. : Sulfonylurea-resistant varieties of soybean or other crops. Match the resistance trait to the specific herbicide that you have used.


Having a crop on the field can reduce herbicide costs compared to leaving it fallow. Apply a pre-emergent residual herbicide before or at planting time. 

A healthy soybean canopy can suppress weeds later in the summer. You will not have to apply post-emergent as a result. The crop’s potential yield increases with early planting.

If you planted soybeans too late, raise the sowing rate somewhat. It will promote canopy growth. Late planting might boost yield by using narrow row spacing. Slim rows also increase early-season light capture, suppress weeds, and reduce erosion.

Sorghum And Sunflowers

Sorghum is suitable for narrow row spacing if the possibility of rain is favorable. Sunflowers are more drought-tolerant and make a good choice for a double crop. 

Use lower seeding rates for double-cropping sunflowers. It can be a reflection of the reduced yield targets. Use shorter-season hybrids to help plants blossom and mature before the frost.

Sorghum-type summer annual forages are another good double-crop choice. They become more appropriate when herbicide carryover issues are less significant. Short-season corn hybrids have the best chances of maturing before frost.


Double cropping needs extra forethought and planning. You have to choose hybrids or cultivars with early maturity. It gives you time for fieldwork in the fall and winter crop establishment.

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