Trial Report Summary

Multi-Crop Intercrop trial (Pea-Oats-Canola-Wheat-Flax-Mustard)

Crop Type(s):
Canola, Flax, Mustard, Oats, Peas, Wheat

Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers Association – Daryl Domitruk


Evaluate agronomic performance of peas in a monocrop or when intercropped with oats, canola, spring wheat, flax or mustard

Project Findings:

Results from Roblin (Table 3a) indicate that there were no significant differences in partial pea yield, land equivalency ratio (LER) or total land equivalency ratio (TLER) regardless of the intercrop option. At Reston, peas intercropped with canola yielded significantly (P=0.001) more grain resulting also in significantly higher partial pea LER (P=0.001) at 1.22 and higher TLER (P<0.0001) at 2.05 compared to other intercrop options. There were no significant yield differences in other pea intercrop options (Table 3b). At Elva, the highest partial pea yield (2405 kg/ha) obtained from a mustard intercrop was not significantly different from wheat or canola intercrops but was significantly higher (P=0.002) than pea yield obtained from oats and flax plots. Partial pea land equivalence ratio for pea followed the same pattern as yield with mustard intercrop having 0.76 pea LER which was significantly (P=0.001) higher than oats and flax. The TLER for the mustard intercrop was not significantly different from other treatments except flax which had the lowest at 0.94 compared to 1.27 (P=0.022) for the former (Table 3c).


Choice of an intercropping system depends on many factors including: weather, machinery available for seeding, harvesting and separation of seed, economics and compatibility of the crops involved. Many organic agriculture farmers have resorted to various intercropping systems with the aim of addressing weed and disease pressure, which often inhibits organic systems under monoculture situations (Pridham and Entz, 2007). Scientists have been advocating for ways to counteract effects of climate change. Intercropping systems can be one of the ways that can help address climate change in some ways such as biological control of insect pests, weeds and diseases. Biological control allows for less use of synthetic chemicals hence addressing the chemical resistance issues. Another benefit of intercropping is improving soil health at low cost considering residual nitrogen if a legume is included. In other studies, pea-wheat intercropping systems have been shown to be efficient in the use of nitrogen due to their spatial selfregulating dynamics, which allows pea to improve its interspecific competitive ability in fields with lower
soil nitrogen and vice versa for wheat (Andersen et al., 2004 and Ghaley et al., 2005). This enables future options to reduce synthetic nitrogen inputs and negative environmental impacts of crop production. Compared to pea sole crop, pea-oats intercrop results in reduced pea lodging because of the support provided by oats to the pea crop, this also helps reduce harvesting difficulties and increase economic returns (Kontturi et al., 2010). This study evaluated various intercrop combinations that can be utilized by producers in different areas of production.


Entire findings are available by downloading the report PDF.

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