Improving crop yield, N uptake and economic returns by intercropping barley or canola with pea

DOI: 10.4236/as.2012.38124   PDF   HTML     3,603 Downloads   6,491 Views   Citations


Two field experiments were conducted from 2009 to 2011 on a Gray Luvisol (Typic Haplocryalf) loam at Star City, Saskatchewan, Canada, to determine the effectiveness of intercropping barley or canola with pea in improving crop yield, total N uptake, seed quality, Land Equivalency Ratio (LER) and economic returns compared to barley, canola or pea grown as monocultures. Average seed yields of barley-pea or canola-pea intercrops were usually greater than those of barley, canola or pea as sole crops. In intercrops, application of N fertilizer increased seed yield of barley or canola but had only slight beneficial effect on the combined seed yield of both crops together. The LER values for intercrops were usually much greater than 1, suggesting less land requirements of intercropping systems than monoculture for the same seed yield. Net returns were lowest for barley as sole crop. Without applied N, net returns were slightly lower for barley-pea intercrop and slightly greater for canola-pea intercrop than pea as a sole crop. Generally, protein concentration in canola or barley seed was higher and oil concentration in canola seed was lower in intercrop combinations compared to sole crops. Response trends of total N uptake in seed or straw were usually similar to that of seed or straw yield. In conclusion, intercropping barley or canola with pea improved yield, N uptake and net returns, suggesting the potential of barley-pea or canola-pea intercrops and pea for organic farming systems.

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Malhi, S. (2012) Improving crop yield, N uptake and economic returns by intercropping barley or canola with pea. Agricultural Sciences, 3, 1023-1033. doi: 10.4236/as.2012.38124.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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