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

The main objective of this paper is to present possibilities of growing intercrops of peas and spring cereals under Czech conditions. This may support an expansion of legume cereal intercropping, to ensure a larger diversity in the crop rotations on arable land in the CR, especially in organic farming systems. Thereby, it may help Czech organic farmers to become more self-sufficient with fodder for their bred animals. 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. 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 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. Results show that intercropping peas and spring cereals influences yield stabilization in comparison with monocultures. The results also show that pea grown in intercrops in organic farming might have a high yield potential under favourable conditions.

Huňady I., Hochman M.: 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, 2014, 50(2): 185–194 [abstract] [fulltext]