Characterizing an outperforming pea cultivar for intercropping with oat at high latitude
Peltonen-Sainio, Pirjo; Kontturi, Markku; Laine, Antti; Niskanen, Markku; Hurme, Timo (2017)
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Agricultural and food science
The Scientific Agricultural Society of Finland
The cereal often dominates the grain legume in intercrops, especially when sown in larger amounts. This study assessed yield formation of pea (Pisum sativum L.) and oat (Avena sativa L.) in an intercropping system in high-latitude conditions. Three pea cultivars (Hulda, Karita and Perttu) and one oat cultivar (Roope) were grown as sole crops and intercrops with shares of either 7.5% or 15% of oat (as weight of sown seed mixture). Experiments were organized in three (southern, western and northern) locations of Finland for three years. Yield and vegetative above-ground biomass, their land equivalent ratio (LER, i.e., the yield in intercrop compared to that of the component yields in pure stands), and a number of yield components were measured prior to harvest at crop-stand and single-plant levels. The share of oat in the intercrop did not have any impact on variation in LERyield. Oat yield and yield components generally benefitted from a pea companion crop. The pea cultivar Perttu was superior in intercrops: it had a LERyield>1 in seven out of eight experiments (mean LERyield=1.06), while Karita had a LERyield>1 in four (mean LERyield=1.00) and Hulda only in one experiment (mean LERyield=0.98). Perttu proved to be a compatible pea companion for a pea-oat intercrop, likely because it was successful in overcompensating for decline in relative yield (RGY) of oat in intercrops, contrary to Hulda. However, none of the measured yield components of Perttu were associated with LERyield, suggesting compensation ability between them, while in Karita and Hulda, e.g., higher grain yield and number of grains and pods per square meter were associated with decline in LERyield. It was concluded that the success of Perttu as a companion for oat in intercrops is likely attributable to its flexibility in building yield through a variable combination of yield components rather than being outperformed due to some superior traits. Such flexibility, likely attributable to long duration of flowering supports resilience to weather variability that is typical for northern European conditions allowing Perttu to consistently sustain a LERyield >1.
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