. . . [T]here are some 230 million rural households in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that have been bypassed by the green revolution- men and women living on marginal land not appropriate for growing wheat or rice and without access to money for the special inputs necessary for green-revolution farming. This group of nearly 1.4 billion people in the Third World holds the key to future increases in world food production.
EDWARD C. WOLF
Beyond the Green Revolution
Earlier chapters have briefly noted some examples of triticale cultivation. These and other experiences around the world are presented here in more detail. This sampling contains only some of the important cases known to the writers when this report was prepared and is not meant to be encyclopedie or definitive.
(1) Information on triticale in the United States is given in Appendix A.
As previously stated, Canadian scientists were the first to convert what was largely a biological oddity into a practical crop. In 1954, at the University of Manitoba, plant breeders L.H. Shebeski and B.C. Jenkins began selecting hexaploid triticales that were light-insensitive, early maturing, and resistant to diseases (particularly stem rust). Dwarf and semi-dwarf wheat lines were used as a source of stronger straw. This brought marked agronomic improvements to the crop.
At the same time, feed-quality evaluations proved that triticale grain was suitable for use in cattle, sheep, and poultry rations, and it was this combination of plant breeding and grain-quality evaluation that established, once and for all, that triticale could be a commercial reality, not just a genetic aberration of purely academic interest.
In 1969, the Manitoba researchers released Rosner, the cultivar that established triticale as a farm crop in Canada. Results from feeding trials, distilling and brewing tests, and experimental manufacture of breakfast cereals indicated that it had considerable potential. Rosner and another variety called "Welsh" came to be grown on up to 10,000 hectares annually. Both, however, suffered from shriveled seed, premature sprouting, and erratic yields.
In subsequent years, sizable triticale breeding programs were continued in Manitoba as well as in Saskatchewan and Quebec. Smaller ones were maintained in Alberta, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. Yields were raised dramatically; however, all the varieties produced had problems as grain crops, including low fertility and ergot infection.
As a result, many people concluded that triticale was an impossible dream. Therefore, interest in the crop as a cereal grain for Canada declined. Only minor production now exists. In 1986, for instance, insufficient triticale grain was available for milling. Sad to say, the University of Manitoba program that initiated almost all of today's worldwide triticale developments was discontinued in 1985 when its funds were cut off. Currently, Canada's biggest triticale research program is at Lacombe, Alberta; a small program also continues at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
Despite the drop in official interest, Canadian farmers still grow triticale for silage because it can be harvested before or after other crops, thereby allowing the farmers to use their time and machinery more efficiently. The variety called "Carmen" now occupies 95 percent of the triticale fields in Western Canada.
Triticale development programs are proceeding in many European countries, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. Only a few countries, however, have made substantial commitments to the crop so far. Among these are the following.
Since 1958, France has had several triticale research programs. Breeding work at Clermont Ferrand (initiated in the 1960s) culminated in the release of the variety Clercal in 1980. As a result of its success, many research centers and private companies are now involved in producing and promoting triticale (see Appendix C). The variety Lasko, introduced from Poland in the 1970s, is also grown on considerable commercial hectarage.
Poland With five million hectares of "problem" soils, Poland devotes to rye a higher proportion of its cereal production than any other country in the world. (In 1985, 3,083,000 hectares were under rye; only 1,855,000 were under wheat.) This is because rye thrives where soils are too acid, too sandy, or too low in phosphorus for wheat and barley to grow well. The problem, however, is that although Poland can grow rye well, it can neither absorb nor export as much as it can produce. Thus, most of the production goes for animal feed, chiefly pig feed, despite the low feeding value caused by low protein content and growth-inhibiting factors.
Because triticale offered a more acceptable grain than rye, intensive breeding started in Poland in 1968. It was oriented chiefly towards finding types that would grow on sandy soils of medium fertility. It produced three cultivars: Lasko, Grado, and Dagro, all registered between 1982 and 1985. These are now widely grown not only in Poland, but in several Western European countries and New Zealand. Lasko, in particular, has proved highly adaptable and is currently the most widely grown triticale in the world.
Polish researchers have concentrated on producing winter triticales. This is because the frequent occurrence of dry summers and delayed springs in Poland means that winter cereals are more reliable than spring ones.
In general, Polish triticales have a good tolerance to acid soils and soluble aluminum, and show good resistance to mildew and rusts Their nutritional value is equal to that of wheat for feeding poultry and it is higher than that of barley for feeding pigs. They have broad adaptation because they were selected in an environment where climate varies greatly between years as well as between regions.
Because of its promising features, triticale has captured enormous farmer interest in Poland. The 1986 fall plantings covered an amazing 309,000 hectares, but the 1987 plantings were almost twice that (600,000 hectares). According to official plans, by 1990 the plantings should reach 1 million hectares.
Triticale is a good substitute for rye on richer and medium-fertile soils. In addition, in some areas (especially those with acid soils and where mildew and rust infection can be heavy and the possibility of chemical control is limited) it is competitive with wheat. Yields have proved superior to the most widely grown rye and wheat cultivars in state trials. Triticale costs more to produce than rye, owing to the indispensable need for herbicides. It costs less than wheat, however, as it needs less fertilizer and fungicide. Winter triticales give similar yields to wheat on a lower level of nitrogen fertilization (a normal saving is 20-30 kg per hectare).
In the near future, the large-scale baking of triticale bread is foreseen. To reduce purchases abroad, Polish law requires that imported wheat flour be blended with locally grown flours. In the past this meant adding rye, but in the future it will mean adding triticale because it is better for baking bread.
For some years, the Soviet Union has officially fostered the planting of triticale. The area devoted to the crop expanded from 27,000 hectares in 1977 to about 250,000 hectares today. The plant is now a common sight in the fields of the Ukraine, the Kuban, and Stavropol territories, in the Chuvash and Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics, and in the Voronezh, Moscow, and Pskov regions.
The Ukrainian Research Institute for the Growth, Breeding, and Genetics of Plants in Kharkov has increased triticale yields some 1820 percent over that of the most widely used Soviet variety of soft winter wheat (Mironovskaya-808). At the same time, the triticale has 1.5-2 percent more protein than ordinary wheat, and 3-4 percent more than rye. With resistance to drought and to winter frosts, the Kharkov triticales reportedly suit the climatic conditions of the Ukraine, the Russian Midlands, and the south of Russia. Most or all of these are winter triticales.
For use in more arid areas, the Institute of Physiology and Biophysics of the Academy of Sciences of the Tajik SSR has produced a different set of triticales. These are mainly spring triticales, and they are said to tolerate increased concentrations of salt in the soil-a particularly important feature in irrigated farm fields in Soviet Central Asia, where high evaporation rates tend to induce salination. They are also said to yield two to three times as much fodder as wheat under those conditions.
Hungary played a distinguished part in triticale's development. In 1954, Arpad Kiss opened the way to secondary triticales by crossing octoploids with hexaploids. Kiss noted that his products had several superior properties, and by 1968 he had varieties suitable for release to farmers. These were among the first triticale varieties to be grown commercially anywhere in the world. As early as 1969, about 40,000 hectares were under cultivation. When conditions were favorable, they yielded up to 7 tons of grain per hectare, and this outstanding performance is credited with stimulating triticale cultivation throughout Europe.
Spain was also one of the first countries to release triticale for cultivation. The Cachirulo variety came out in 1968. However, because of difficulties with threshing and lack of markets, little production occurred. In 1979, a variety that was easier to thresh and that yielded better was released under the name "Manigero." Since then, Spain has approved several improved varieties for cultivation, many of them based on CIMMYT germplasm.
Today, it annually grows more than 30,000 hectares of fall-sown, spring-habit triticale, and the area is expanding.
Portugal is overly dependent on cereal imports. In the last few years it has produced only 25 percent of the grains required to feed its people and livestock. Unfortunately, most Portuguese soils are poor, with low levels of organic matter and phosphorus. As much as 80 percent of the soils are acidic (pH below 5.5). Moreover, lacking water resources for irrigation, almost all crops must be rainfed, and the amount and distribution of rainfall are highly erratic. For this reason, rye has always been important to Portugal, and triticale, therefore, would appear to have much to offer as an upgrade crop.
Since 1969, the National Plant Breeding Station of Elvas (ENMP) has conducted a triticale breeding program. More recently, a second program has been established at the University of Tras-os-Mntes e Alto Douro. In both cases, germplasm from CIMMYT has shown excellent potential. Five CIMMYT varieties-Armadillo, Arabian, Bacum, Beagle, and Mapache-are now in cultivation.
The results have been so outstanding that the area under triticale is constantly increasing.
The current estimate is 80,000 hectares nationwide. In the province of Tras-os-Mntes e Alto Douro, traditional rye country, the first triticale variety was approved in 1987; it, too, is expected to increase dramatically.
So far, the best productivity has been obtained with substitution type triticales. However, because complete types are more stable and better adapted to poor soils and difficult environments, they are expected to be increasingly used in the future. A major problem has been lodging, which occurs under good productivity conditions. Efforts are being made to rectify this.
So far, triticale has resisted various diseases and pests much better than wheat. However, as a precaution against possible future outbreaks, the breeders each year inoculate the triticales in their nurseries with rusts and blotches (Septoria spp.), using inoculum collected from triticale. Breadmaking quality of all the advanced lines are systematically analyzed every year in collaboration with the laboratory of the Cereal Board of Portugal.
Triticale seems to have an assured place in Portuguese agriculture. The area devoted to it is likely to continue increasing because the support price is similar to that of grade-II wheat, yet its productivity is better under poor soils and low rainfall, and it is more reliable in bad years.
Only one African country, South Africa, reports having a full triticale program. Others, such as Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, have undertaken agronomic research and food-technology testing. Some others are evaluating new germplasm in an exploratory manner.
China, Indonesia, and South Korea have also undertaken considerable triticale development, while India, Iran, Pakistan, and Syria maintain breeding, testing, cereal technology, and other triticale investigations. The most interesting developments to date have been in China.
In southwestern China, on the highlands of the Yunnan-Sichuan plateau, successful cultivation and utilization of octoploid triticale is under way. There, just north of Burma, triticale has opened up a new possibility for increased cereal production in mountain areas at between 1,800 and 2,600 m above sea level.
The region has a cold climate, a short frost-free period, and dry, alkaline soil. Traditionally, buckwheat and oats were grown, but these yield poorly and are replaced wherever possible.
In 1970, a strain of rye with good yield and cold resistance was introduced; however, its flour-milling quality was poor. The Chinese Academy of Agriculture and Forestry then offered the local peasants 10 selected triticale lines. Despite a severe drought during the 1973 growing season, 8 of the 10 triticales gave better harvests than the local rye and wheat. One yielded 20 percent more than rye and 61 percent more than two local wheat strains.
Subsequently, 42 production teams conducted experiments with triticale on this mountainous land, on both poor and fertile soils. Yields averaged 2.13 tons per hectare, considerably more than either buckwheat or ryes. These octoploid triticales were also more winter hardy, more adaptable to poor soils, and more resistant to drought and lodging.
Reports from Brazil show many activities in triticale. Argentina also has a full program, and Colombia and Ecuador have small programs.
(5) This section based on a paper by A.C. Baier and J.L. Nedel (see Research Contacts).
Triticale has been under observation in Brazil since 1969; lines with acceptable grain were first obtained in 1976. Since then, yield potentials have been assessed through the Brazilian Triticale Yield Nursery, a series of comparisons carried out at as many as 27 locations. All Brazilian triticales are derived from CIMMYT germplasm.
Most trials in the states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul have shown high yields with acceptable test weights. As a result, five varieties were released for commercial use during 1985. (TPOLO 8432), OCEPAR 1 (TOC 807), and OCEPAR 2 (ITOC 841).
Irrigated trials in the central Brazilian savannas (Cerrados) have given the highest yields and test weights.
The cultivated triticale area was 1,500 hectares in 1984, 4,500 in 1985, 20,000 in 1986, and about 30,000 in 1987. Triticale has shown good adaptation to Brazil's acid soils and has demonstrated high resistance to mildew, leaf blotch (Septoria), stem rust, and leaf rust. The main disease problems have been head diseases (Septoria, Helminthosporium, and scab), premature sprouting, and low test weight. Farmers have obtained good responses to nitrogen top-dressing during tillering and to systemic fungicides at flowering.
Grain quality has been investigated in both laboratories and commercial facilities. Milling quality has proved similar to that of wheat. Good crackers, cookies, and pastas are being produced using 100 percent triticale flour. In commerce, triticale flour is already being substituted for wheat flour (from 10 to 35 percent) in the manufacture of several types of bread.
Since 1986, the official triticale price has been set at the same price as wheat. Also, the same standards are used for both crops.
In the South Pacific region, Australia has four major triticale breeding programs and New Zealand has one.
Since 1979, Australia has released 15 triticale varieties for farmers. The crop has been rapidly adopted. In 1979, the area planted stood at about 22,000 hectares; in 1985-86 approximately 160,000 hectares of triticale were cultivated. Ttiticale Symposium, Sydney. p. 150.
In fact, since 1983, the Australian triticale crop has been larger than the Australian cotton or rice crops.
The rapid adoption of the crop was because of high yield in some areas, notably those with acid soils, the existence of a ready market for stockfeed grain, and the fact that direct farmer- to-manufacturer sales were possible. On good soils in the eastern wheat belt, triticale has fallen short of the best wheat yields by 5-15 percent in more than 16 trials since 1978. On poor, light land, however, triticale has substantially outyielded wheat. For instance, in the Merredin area of Western Australia, on five sites chosen for their acid soils, triticales yielded 50 percent more than wheats. In the Pilliga-scrub region of northern New South Wales, trial plantings of wheat failed to produce grain because of soil acidity, but the neighboring triticale plantings yielded 2.5 tons of grain per hectare.
There are currently triticale breeding programs in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. Those in Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia use mainly CIMMYT-derived materials. South Australia, on the other hand, is making its own triticales, concentrating on a range of durum wheats and cereal ryes including South Australia rye, which has long been used to stabilize sand dunes in the state.
South Australia's goal is to create triticales with adaptation to marginal conditions. More than 400 different primary triticales were created this way. Since the occurrence in 1982 and 1984 of new stem-rust strains that proved virulent on all but one of the current cultivars, selection for resistance to stem rust has become a major priority in Australian breeding and selection programs.
Two forage cultivars-one purely for grazing, and one dual purpose (grazing and grain)-have recently been released by the University of New England, Armidale, New South
An Interstate Triticale Yield Trial, with trial sites in every Australian state, is currently in its eighth year. Triticale is showing excellent adaptation to wheat soils that are becoming acidified because of the long and continuous use of subterranean clover and phosphate fertilizer.
Most Australian triticale is used locally to feed poultry, pigs, cattle, and sheep, although some of it is exported to Southeast Asia. However, its use in human food has begun, and a triticale cookbook containing more than 100 recipes has been published. 8