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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: B.L. Béres, N.Z. Lupwayi, F.J. Larney, B. Ellert, E.G. Smith, T.K. Turkington, D. Pageau, K. Semagn, and Z. Wang

Research indicates that not all crops respond similarly to cropping diversity and the response of triticale (× Triticosecale ssp.) has not been documented. We investigated the effects of rotational diversity on cereals in cropping sequences with canola (Brassica napus L.), field pea (Pisum sativum L.), or an intercrop (triticale:field pea). Six crop rotations were established consisting of two, 2-yr low diversity rotations (LDR) (continuous triticale (T-T_LDR) and triticale-wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) (T-W_LDR)); three, 2-yr moderate diversity rotations (MDR) (triticale-field pea (T-P_MDR), triticale-canola (T-C_MDR), and a triticale: field pea intercrop (T- in P_MDR)); and one, 3-yr high diversity rotation (HDR) (canola-triticale-field pea (C-T-P_HDR)). The study was established in Lethbridge, Alberta (irrigated and rainfed); Swift Current (rainfed) and Canora (rainfed), Saskatchewan, Canada; and carried out from 2008 to 2014. Triticale grain yield for the 3-yr HDR was superior over the LDR rotations and the MDR triticale-field pea system; however, results were similar for triticale-canola, and removal of canola from the system caused a yield drag in triticale. Triticale biomass was superior for the 3-yr HDR. Moreover, along with improved triticale grain yield, the 3-yr HDR provided greater yield stability across environments. High rotational diversity (C-T-P_HDR) resulted in the highest soil microbial community and soil carbon concentration, whereas continuous triticale provided the lowest. Net economic returns were also superior for C-T-P_HDR ($670 ha–1) and the lowest for T-W_LDR ($458 ha–1). Overall, triticale responded positively to increased rotational diversity and displayed greater stability with the inclusion of field pea, leading to improved profitability and sustainability of the system.

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