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Mixed cropping of annual feed legumes with barley improves feed quantity and crude protein content under dry-land conditions

Keywords: mixed cropping , field pea , grass pea , Hungarian vetch , smooth vetch , barley

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Abstract:

The objective of this research is to determine a suitable mixture of annual feed legumes and barley as a winter crop under dry-land conditions. Seeds of Hungarian vetch (cv. 2670), smooth vetch (cv. Maragheh), and local varieties of grass pea and field pea were mixed with barley (cv. Abidar) in a 1:1 ratio and were tested, along with related monoculture. All legumes in the mixture survived winter while legumes alone, except Hungarian vetch, did not survive in the cold areas. The maximum fresh and dry forage yields (56 and 15 ton ha-1 respectively) were obtained from a mixture of smooth vetch and barley in provinces with mild winter and more than 400 mm of rainfall. The mixture of barley and smooth vetch resulted in the highest mean crude protein content (17%). Autumn seeding of smooth vetch and barley in a 1:1 ratio produced more than 2 ton ha-1 of dry biomass with good quality in all studied areas and thus could serve as an alternative cropping system after wheat/barley in cold and semi-cold dry land.

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