Forage potential of winter cereal/legume intercrops in organic farming

  • Marco Mariotti |
  • Alessandro Masoni
  • Laura Ercoli
  • Iduna Arduini


This research was performed to assess the potential of cereal/legume intercropping to enhance forage yield and quality when compared with cereal sole crops under the constrains imposed by UE organic farming regulations. Sole crops (SC) and intercrops (IC) of two winter cereals, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.), and two legumes, white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) and common vetch (Vicia sativa L.), were evaluated at two harvest times for dry matter yield (DMY), crude protein concentration (CPC), and nitrogen yield (NY). Yield values and dry matter concentration (DMC) were generally higher when cereals were at the hard dough compared to the late milk stage. On average, intercropping increased forage yield by 72%, NY by 190%, and CPC by 40 g kg-1, compared to cereal sole crops, but the choice of legume species affected the yield advantage and the composition of forage. Land equivalent ratio (LER) of intercrops was always higher than 1, ranging from 1.39 to 1.61. Intercropping also enhanced weed suppression, compared to sole crop.



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Original Articles
barley, common vetch, durum wheat, intercropping, organic farming, white lupin
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How to Cite
Mariotti, M., Masoni, A., Ercoli, L., & Arduini, I. (2006). Forage potential of winter cereal/legume intercrops in organic farming. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 1(3), 403-412.

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