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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #371114

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Winter Triticale: A long-term cropping systems experiment in a dry Mediterranean climate

item SCHILLINGER, WILLIAM - Washington State University
item Archer, David

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2020
Publication Date: 11/13/2020
Publication URL:
Citation: Schillinger, W.F., Archer, D.W. 2020. Winter Triticale: A long-term cropping systems experiment in a dry Mediterranean climate. Agronomy Journal. 10(11):1777.

Interpretive Summary: Triticale is a crop that crop that could be grown as an alternative to winter wheat in Washington. It is used mostly for livestock feed but is currently not widely grown in the U.S. or in Washington. A field study was conducted from 2011-2019 to compare winter triticale with winter wheat for grain yield, straw production, soil water use, effects on the subsequent spring wheat crop, and economic risk and returns. Winter triticale produced 14-24% more grain than winter wheat grown in a 3-year and 2-year rotation, respectively. Spring wheat yield after triticale was also higher than spring wheat grown after winter wheat. Despite the yield benefits, the winter triticale rotation was not as profitable as either a 3-year or 2-year winter wheat rotation. This was primarily due to the lower market price for triticale compared to winter wheat. The result also showed the triticale prices that would be necessary for triticale to be as profitable to grow as winter wheat. The results are useful for producers in making decisions to grow winter triticale in Washington.

Technical Abstract: Triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack) is a cereal feed grain grown annually worldwide on 4.2 million ha. Washington is the leading state for rainfed (i.e., non-irrigated) triticale production in the USA. A 9-year dryland cropping systems project was conducted from 2011–2019 near Ritzville, WA to compare winter triticale (WT) with winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) (WW) grown in (i) a 3-year rotation of WT-spring wheat (SW) -no-till summer fallow (NTF) (ii) a 3-year rotation of WW-SW-undercutter tillage summer fallow (UTF) and (iii) a 2-year WW-UTF rotation, We measured grain yield, grain yield components, straw production, soil water dynamics, and effect on the subsequent SW wheat crop (in the two 3-year rotations). Enterprise budgets were constructed to evaluate the production costs and profitability. Grain yields averaged over the years were 5816, 5087, and 4689 kg/ha for WT, 3-year WW, and 2-year WW, respectively (p < 0.001). Winter triticale used slightly less water than WW (p = 0.019). Contrary to numerous reports in the literature, WT never produced more straw dry biomass than WW. Winter wheat produced many more stems than WT (p < 0.001), but this was compensated by individual stem weight of WT being 60% heavier than that of WW (p < 0.001). Spring wheat yield averaged 2451 vs. 2322 kg/ha after WT and WW, respectively (p = 0.022). The market price for triticale grain was always lower than that for wheat. Winter triticale produced an average of 14 and 24% more grain than 3-year and 2-year WW, respectively, provided foliar fungal disease control, risk reduction, and other rotation benefits, but was not economically competitive with WW. A 15–21% increase in WT price or grain yield would be necessary for the WT rotation to be as profitable as the 3-year and 2-year WW rotations, respectively.