Triticale: A Man Made Crop


Introduction- Triticale a human-made crop is a hybrid small grain produced between wheat and rye. The name ‘‘triticale’’ is an international crop name with variations in pronunciation to suit the local language and dialect and is derived from the combination of the scientific classifications of the two genera involved, that is, wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale). The triticale hybrids are all amphidiploid, which means the plant is diploid for two genomes derived from different species, in other words triticale is an allotetraploid. It is produced by doubling the chromosomes of the sterile hybrid that is produced using conventional plant breeding hybridizing techniques between wheat and rye. In earlier years most work was done on octoploid triticale; however, different ploidy levels have been created and evaluated over time. The octoploids showed little promise, but hexaploid triticale was successful enough to find commercial application. Triticale cultivars, grown for forage as well as for grain, can be classified into three basic types: spring, winter, and intermediate (facultative). Spring types exhibit upright growth and produce much forage early in their growth. They are generally insensitive to photoperiod and have limited tillering. Winter types are generally planted in the fall, but also can be planted in the spring in some situations. Winter types have prostrate type of growth in the early stages of development. In general, winter types yield more forage than spring types mainly due to their long growth cycle. Intermediate (facultative) types, as the name implies, are intermediate to spring and winter types.

Uses of triticale crop:
Triticale, now a well-established crop internationally, is used for food, feed, grazed or stored forage and fodder, silage, green-feed, and hay. In recent years, triticale has received attention as a potential energy crop and research is currently being conducted on the use of the crops biomass in bioethanol production. Interest in triticale has developed around two areas of potential use for the grain and its use as forage crop.

Feed Grain:
The first area of interest is for use as a feed grain because it has proven to be a good source of protein, amino acids, and vitamin B. The protein content of triticale lines has ranged from 10% to 20% on a dry weight basis, which is higher than wheat. The amino acid composition of the protein is similar to wheat, but may be slightly higher in lysine. In addition, it is a better ruminant feed than other cereals due to its high starch digestibility. Results of feeding experiments indicate that pigs fed triticale-based diets had rates of grain and feed efficiencies similar to those of pigs fed corn-based diets. Modern triticale grain is an excellent feed grain for use in mixed poultry diets.

Food Grain:
The second area of interest for triticale grain is in developing it as a food grain cereal that would exhibit unique baking traits. As a food grain, triticale has also been recognized as a hardy crop capable of helping combat world hunger. Triticale has potential in the production of bread and other food products such as pasta and breakfast cereals. The protein content is higher than that of wheat although the gluten in fraction is less.

Forage Crop:
Triticale has been and is increasingly grown for livestock grazing cut forage (green chop), whole-plant silage, hay, and forage/grain dual purpose. Triticale can be grown as a monocrop, winter/spring blend, and mixture with legumes, other cereal, and/or annual ryegrass. The advantage with blends is that the grazing season can be extended and/or forage nutritive value improved in particular when blended with legumes. In general, forage yield of triticale compares very favourably to other forage small-grain cereals in studies done all over the world. Spring triticale provides an excellent alternative to other spring cereals such as barley and oats. Spring triticale has been shown to be more drought tolerant than other spring cereals.

Mr. Rohitashv Nagar, Assistant Professor, School of Agricultural Sciences, Career Point University, Kota

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