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Intercropping barley with pea for agronomic and economic considerations in northern Ontario

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DOI: 10.4236/as.2012.37107    4,311 Downloads   6,792 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Intercropping, a mix of non-legume and legume crops, can improve crop yield and/or economic returns and reduce input costs. Field experiments (barley-pea intercrop) were conducted in 2008, 2010 and 2011 on an Oskondoga silt loam soil at Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, to determine the effect of intercropping barley (non-legume) and pea (legume) on grain yield, land equivalency ratio (LER), grain quality (protein concentration-PC), N uptake and economic returns. Barley and pea were grown as mono crops and in combinations as intercrops (both in the same row/and alternate rows). Nitrogen fertilizer was applied at 0, 40 and 80 kg·N·ha-1 to mono crop barley and at 0, 20 and 40 kg·N·ha-1 to barley-pea intercrop combinations. On an average of three years, application of 80 kg·N·ha-1 increased grain yield of barley by 846 kg·ha-1 as a sole crop and by 420 - 488 kg·ha-1 in the two intercropping combinations. Compared to barley and pea as sole crops, grain yield with barley-pea intercropping was greater by 266 kg·ha-1 with alternate row combination and by 223 kg·ha-1when both crops were grown in the same row. The LER values suggested 7% - 17% less land requirement for barley-pea intercropping than sole crops. Net returns from barley-pea intercropping without applied N greatly improved ($854 - $939 ha-1) compared to barley sole crop with 80 kg·N·ha-1($628 ha-1), although the net returns were highest for pea grown as a sole crop without applied N ($1141 ha-1). For barley as a sole crop, PC in grain increased with applied N. Compared to barley as sole crop with zero-N, PC in barley grain increased when barley was intercropped with pea. In barley-pea intercrop treatments, application of N fertilizer had no significant effect on PC in barley grain, although PC in pea grain was much higher than PC in barley grain. The response trends of total N uptake in grain were similar to grain yield. The findings suggest that pea or barley-pea intercropping could be an option for organic farming systems.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Sahota, T. and Malhi, S. (2012) Intercropping barley with pea for agronomic and economic considerations in northern Ontario. Agricultural Sciences, 3, 889-895. doi: 10.4236/as.2012.37107.

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