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Potential of Legume-Cereal Intercropping for Increasing Yields and Yield Stability for Self-Sufficiency with Animal Fodder in Organic Farming

Potential of Legume-Cereal Intercropping for Increasing Yields and Yield Stability for Self-Sufficiency with Animal Fodder in Organic Farming

Czech Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding 50(2): 185-194

ISSN/ISBN: 1212-1975

Intercropping of grain legumes and cereals is a promising theme in organic farming for its potential for increasing and stabilizing yields, reducing weed pressure and sustaining plant health. On animal husbandry farms, pea-cereal mixtures may be an interesting crop harvested for green fodder as well as for feed concentrates. Increasing self-sufficiency with fodder is in agreement with the principles of organic agriculture, and it reduces the risks related to the import of soy protein that may be admixed with GM soya. In 2008-2011, plot trials (PT) with intercropped peas and spring cereals (wheat, barley) were conducted. Varieties and pea-cereal combinations were examined to find suitable varieties for intercropping, and the best pea to cereal ratio in the seed intercrop (pea to cereal ratios 80:20, 60:40, 40:60, 20:80). Results show that intercropping peas and spring cereals may be advantageous compared to monocultures. Pea-cereal intercrops produce high yields of green matter and concentrates especially when intercropped at the pea to cereal ratio of 60:40 and 40:60. In 2009, on five certified organic farms, controlled field trials (FT) were conducted with field pea (leaf type), spring barley and spring wheat in monocultures and intercrops (pea to cereal ratio 60:40). Forage yields were evaluated at pea growth phases BBCH-scale 79 and 83. Fresh yields of monocultures and intercrops were evaluated at grain harvest.

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