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Competitive Ability in Mixtures of Small Grain Cereals


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 40 No. 1, p. 159-164
    Received: Dec 22, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): patricia.juskiw@agric.gov.ab.ca
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  1. P. E. Juskiw *a,
  2. J. H. Helma and
  3. D. F. Salmona
  1.  aField Crop Development Centre, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, 5030 50 Street, Lacombe, AB, T4L 1W8, Canada


Morphological and physiological differences in competitive ability among species and genotypes can affect the growth, development, and subsequent composition and value of feedstuffs produced from small grain cereal mixtures. Our objective was determine the final grain yields of the components of mixtures and compare these yields with those expected based on the yields of the monocrops. Three field studies were conducted to evaluate the productivity of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), oat (Avena sativa L.), triticale (× Triticosecale rimpaui Wittm.), and rye (Secale cereale L.) grown as monocrops and mixtures. Seeding rates ranging from 250 seeds m−2 to 750 seeds m−2 were evaluated to determine their effect on competitive ability of genotypes and species of small grains. Differences in competitive ability were found. The semi-dwarf barley `Kasota' was less competitive than the standard-height `AC Lacombe' and `Seebe'. `Noble' barley was more competitive than `AC Mustang' oat or `Wapiti' triticale. `Prima' winter rye was more competitive than `Pika' winter triticale. Relative grain yields were generally not different than 1.0 g g−1, but when significantly different they were usually higher than one, indicating that the yields of those mixtures were better than expected based on yields when the cultivars were grown as pure stands. Seeding rates had little effect on competitive ability. The specific factors that lead to better than expected grain yields of mixtures and to good competitive ability of cultivars and species are difficult to predict and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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