Straw Yield and Quality: An Extra Motivation for the Introduction of Triticale in Mixed Farming Systems
Straw is a valuable by-product from cereal production. It is used for agricultural purposes as feed and bedding material for livestock. Additionally, cereal straw is a resource for the production of sustainable biomaterials and bio-energy. To meet the demands of these sectors substantial amounts of straw, with specific properties (e.g. water-holding capacity), are necessary. Since wheat breeding has mainly focused on grain yield rather than on straw yield other cereal species, such as triticale, can be of interest. Therefore, in this research the straw yield and water-holding capacity of four winter wheat and four winter triticale varieties were studied during two growing seasons. For both wheat and triticale there were differences in dry matter yield and percentage dry matter between growing seasons. Furthermore, depending on the growing season, there were significant differences in straw yield between the different wheat and triticale varieties. However, during both growing seasons, the straw yield obtained from the triticale varieties was significantly higher compared to the straw yield obtained from the wheat varieties. Concerning the water-holding capacity, it was concluded that the water absorption potential of triticale straw was higher compared to the water absorption potential of wheat straw. However, only in 2014 a significant difference between wheat and triticale was noted. So, it can be concluded that, besides the known advantages of triticale (performance on marginal soils, disease resistance, low fertilizer input, etc.), this crop has the potential to deliver high yields of high quality straw.
Keywordsstraw triticale water-holding capacity wheat
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This work was financially supported by Landbouwcentrum Granen Vlaanderen vzw. Furthermore, we acknowledge the technical staff of the experimental farm in Bottelare.
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