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Title: Optimum Stand Density of Spring Triticale for Grain Yield and Alfalfa Establishment

Author
item GIBSON, L
item Singer, Jeremy
item VOS, R
item BLASER, B

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2008
Publication Date: 6/17/2008
Citation: Gibson, L.R., Singer, J.W., Vos, R.J., Blaser, B.C. 2008. Optimum Stand Density of Spring Triticale for Grain Yield and Alfalfa Establishment. Agronomy Journal. 100:911-916.

Interpretive Summary: Triticale has promise as a feed crop in the North Central U.S. and could be used as a companion crop for alfalfa establishment. The objectives of this research were to assess the suitability of a short-statured spring triticale as a companion crop for alfalfa and to determine optimum triticale seeding rates for grain yield and alfalfa establishment. Spring triticale and alfalfa were grown in companion at Ames and Sioux Center, Iowa during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The seeding rate that provided the optimum return was about 2.0 million seeds per acre in three of the four site years and was 1.2 million seeds per acre in the other site-year. The average grain yield at the optimum seeding rate was 1.96 tons per acre. Increasing the triticale seeding rate had no effect on alfalfa stand density or dry matter yield. Producers can use short-statured spring triticale varieties as a companion crop for alfalfa and harvest the grain without detriment to the alfalfa.

Technical Abstract: Triticale (XTriticosecale Wittmack) has promise as a feed crop in the North Central U.S. and could be used as a companion crop for alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) establishment. The objectives of this research were to assess the suitability of a short-statured spring triticale as a companion crop for alfalfa and to determine optimum triticale seeding rates for grain yield and alfalfa establishment. Spring triticale cv. Trimark 37812 and alfalfa were grown in companion at Ames and Sioux Center, Iowa during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The triticale was seeded at 198, 297, 396, 495, or 594 seeds m-2 and alfalfa was planted into all plots at 680 seeds m-2. The response of grain yield to changes in seeding rate was quadratic. The seeding rate that provided the optimum return was within 15 seeds m-2 of 500 seeds m 2 in three of the four site years and was 297 seeds m-2 in the other site-year. The average grain yield at the optimum seeding rate was 4.4 Mg ha-1. Increasing the triticale seeding rate had no effect on alfalfa stand density or dry matter yield. Use of short-statured, sparse-tillering spring triticale cultivars are suited to companion cropping with alfalfa. However, improved resistance to Fusarium head blight, ergot, and preharvest sprouting must be incorporated into spring triticale to make it a more viable crop for companion cropping with alfalfa in the North Central U.S.