Optimum plot size of planting and bio-agroeconomic revenues from arugula-carrot intercropping systems in a semi-arid region

Abstract The production of vegetable crops has been characterized as a highly intensive activity in the use of soil, water, inputs and labor in semi-arid regions, being practiced mostly by small family farmers as a way of subsistence, or in the small-scale commercialization of surplus production. Among the agricultural practices that have been successfully used by vegetable producers are intercrop systems that, when implemented with adequate management, present gains in productivity, nutritional, economic, and environmental value. The aim of this study was to estimate the optimal plot sizes of plantings of carrot (Daucus carota L.) intercropped with arugula (Eruca sativa L.) in bi-cultivation in three spatial arrangements, as well as to determine bio-agroeconomic revenues from associations between these vegetable crops in a semi-arid region. Estimates of optimal sizes of experimental plots in intercropping systems, provided by the methods of bootstrap resampling and of sampling intensity (10%), were four, four and three basic units, respectively, for the spatial arrangements 2R:2C, 3R:3C, and 4R: 4C, between rows of arugula (R) intercropped with carrot (C), and by the Hatheway method, all spatial arrangements were of four basic units. The best bio-agroeconomic performance of carrot intercropped with arugula in bi-cultivation was obtained in the spatial arrangement 2R:2C.