Grain Yield Potential of Intermediate Wheatgrass in Western Canada
Perennial grain research collaborators in Western Canada released a paper documenting the influence that nitrogen management and intercropping exert over grain yield for the crop.
Intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium; IWG) is a temperate perennial grass capable of performing in dual-purpose perennial grain cropping systems. It is valued for its ecosystem services and forage yield and quality that can be utilized in many livestock systems. Development for potential perennial grain yield has been the focus of breeding programs for more than two decades, and agronomic management is becoming important, as commercialization of the crop has occurred. This research focused on nitrogen management and intercropping on grain yield and yield components in western Canada. Treatments consisting of a non-fertilized control, an interseeded crop with IWG/Trifolium hybridum, and a fertilized treatment (50 kg N ha−1) were investigated at four locations. Drought conditions were experienced in some years, resulting in the loss of the interseeded crop at three locations. Fertilization with nitrogen increased grain yield in harvest years two and three and influenced yield components in at least one instance across locations. Third-year grain harvests were higher or equal to year one yield at the two locations harvested, with applied N increasing yield on average by 200 kg ha−1 in year three. Inflorescence density is an important yield component after the first production year. The potential for consistent grain yields across three reproductive years was demonstrated, enhancing the potential for sustained productivity.