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Triticale Growing

Triticale is a cereal, a product of crossbreeding between wheat and rye. Its name is formed from Triticum (wheat) and Secale (rye).

1. Taxonomy, origin and geographical distribution
2. Morphology
3. Edaphoclimatic requirements
4. Propagation and vegetal material
5. Fertilization
6. Harvest
7. Pests, illnesses and physiopathology
7.1. Pests
7.2. Illnesses
7.3. Physiopathology


Triticale is a cereal, a product of crossbreeding between wheat and rye. Its name is formed from Triticum (wheat) and Secale (rye).

Family Poaceae
Genus Triticosecale
Specie T. aestivum
Scientific name Triticum aestivum

Triticale, created by breeders, is the first cereal made by man. In many of the less favoured ecological environments in the world, triticale offers a double hope:
– The yield and nutritional quality among other important characteristics are equal or superior to those of wheat.
– It grows well in poor soils and resists typical pests and diseases of rye.

Triticale has shown a higher wheat yield. Its resistance to Septoria tritici is an advantage in regions where the disease exists; such is the case of Brazil, Argentina, Ethiopia and the Mediterranean.

2011 Production (t) %
1 Poland 4 235 330 31.6
2 Germany 2 004 300 15.0
3 France 1 986 000 14.8
4 Belarus 1 324 150 9.9
5 Russia 522 580 3.9
6 China 453 000 3.4
7 Australia 355 078 2.7
8 Hungary 345 731 2.6
9 Lithuania 237 000 1.8
10 Austria 228 073 1.7
11 Spain 205 600 1.5
12 Czech Republic 196 918 1.5
13 Romania 144 800 1.1
14 Serbia 141 469 1.1
15 Denmark 136 800 1.0
16 Chile 113 666 0.8
17 Sweden 111 700 0.8
18 Turkey 103 797 0.8
19 Brazil 90 469 0.7
20 Switzerland 62 044 0.5

Source: FAO-2011

In Spain, its cultivation is becoming more important. In cattle breeding areas like the countryside of Cádiz, they use grazing in winter due to its great regrowth capacity (higher than barley and oats). In the summer, quite a lot of grain is harvested. Sometimes they can produce up to two harvests of green forage in winter and early spring.


It is a cereal whose appearance is between wheat and rye, but it is morphologically more similar to the first. Its height is about 1-1.5m. Its leaves are like wheat but larger and thicker. The spikes are also larger.


It is a crop that is characterized by the rusticity of rye so it is not very demanding in terms of soil and climate conditions.

– Temperature: The cultivation can be carried out in subtropical, moderately mild and moderately cold climates. Optimal temperatures are:
. Germination optimum temperature is 20°C
. Growth optimum temperature is 10-24ºC
. Minimum temperature of survival is -10ºC
. Maximum temperature of survival is 33ºC

– Soil: Triticale has shown that it can adapt well to acidic soils although it is certain that it is not demanding in terms of soil condition. It prefers relatively compact soils, i.e., with little porous structure especially in times of germination.

– Irrigation: The most important moments that should not be missed are after planting and during the tillering, spike formation and grain growth development. Usually, the water needs of triticale range around 400-900mm/year


There are winter and spring types of triticale, depending on the time of planting.

The dose to use is established by the seed company and the proper planting depth is usually 2.5-5cm.

Some of the varieties to highlight are:
– Camarma (INIA, 1985): medium, late or very late cycle. Average production capacity. Very high adaptive capacity.
– Misionero (Semillas Fitó, 1987): medium cycle, semi-early. Average production capacity. Resistance to yellow, black and brown rust.
– Senatrit (SENASA, 1994): medium cycle, medium late. Very high production capacity..
– Tritano (Semillas Batlle, S.A., 1988): medium cycle, semi-early. Good production capacity. Moderate sensitivity to yellow rust. Resistance to leaf rust. Sensitive to stem rust.
– Galgo (Verneuil, 1996): semi-early cycle, dual purpose.
– Titania (IRTA): cycle longer than Tritano. Better than Tritano with regards to specific weight and weight of thousand kernels.
– Trujillo (Andalusia Research Service, 1987): medium long cycle, early. Good production capacity. Very high adaptive capacity.
– Trijan: Long cycle and dual release. High production capacity.
– Noé (Semillas Agrar): very high production capacity. Resistance to lodging and shelling. Very resistant to diseases.


Nitrogen and phosphate fertilization can increase grain yields and also the efficiency of the use of water.

The fertilization that must be carried out before planting is 17kg P2O5/ha and 43kg K2O / ha per 1000kg of expected grain. Nitrogen fertilization is applied after each use and in an amount of 40 kg N/ha.

Irrigation or rainfalls greatly affect crop response to applied fertilizer. This means, especially in arid areas, to divide nitrogen applications.


In 1968, the analysis of the quality of proteins of triticale in the CIMMT laboratory indicated that it ranged from 11.7% to 22.5% of total grain weight, with an average level of 17.5%. In comparison, the average protein content of wheat is only 12.9%.

The protein content shown in these first tests made people think that triticale was a new superfood. However, the high protein content of it was linked to its malformed and incomplete endosperm, which exaggerated the protein content in the seed and the bran. As the size and grain filling was increasing, through breeding and selection, the increase of starch in the endosperm decreases the percentage of protein in the grain. Nevertheless, the content is still higher than that of wheat, overcoming with an average of 13.5%, and although the content in 1968 was 17%, protein production per hectare has nearly tripled.

It is known that the biological quality of any protein refers to its content of essential amino acids (the protein components that cannot be synthesized by the human body and therefore must be ingested in food).

In triticale, as in other cereals, the first limiting amino acid is lysine, hence the percentage of lysine in the protein of triticale constitutes the indicator of protein quality.

In terms of lysine, triticale is significantly superior to wheat whose average content is 3% of the total protein. In triticale, the average lysine content is about 3.7%

The parameters to be taken into account when harvesting triticale differ depending on the aptitude why it is being grown. Therefore, it can be harvested as grains or green forage.

– Harvest of grain (May-August): It is very important to determine when the grain is in optimal conditions to be harvested. It should be harvested when its moisture content is about 15-16%. This moisture indicates that the grain is in “commercial maturity”. If the harvest is delayed, the moisture content decreases and this favours the shelling, the breaking of spikes and can even cause insect attack.

The harvest of grain is done by properly trained harvesters.

– Harvest of green fodder: The purpose of this harvest is to get as much fodder as possible but with a high nutritional value. Triticale is a plant with hard stem so proper equipment is needed for cutting, splitting and storing the harvested forage.

The opportune harvest time is when inflorescences have emerged.


The cultivation of triticale is quite resistant or tolerant to pests, diseases or physiopathology. In fact, it appeared as a result of genetic improvement that intended this purpose. It was intended to produce a cereal that was characterized by its hardiness and the known triticale was obtained. Therefore, it is a crop that does not suffer many affectations of this style.

7.1. Pests

– Pale green aphids (Metopolophium dirhodum)
– Green aphids (Sitobion avenae) (Sitobion avenae)
– Oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi)

These aphids cause indirect damage to the plant resulting from their feeding and the transmission of viruses. Anyway, they do not cause significant economic losses as the problem can be resolved easily through biological control techniques.

7.2. Illnesses

– Scald (Rhynchosporium secalis): It causes foliar spots. In more severe cases, it can also be affected the pods, glume and even the ears.

– Rust (Puccinia striiformis and Puccinia triticina): Triticale is practically resistant to this disease. It affects the leaves.

– Cladosporium spp., Alternaria spp.: They cause leaf spots.

7.3. Physiopathology

– Lodging: It occurs when the aerial part of the plant is usually folded due to a weak stem or due to the wind or rain. The causes that can make the stem weak are:
. Excess nitrogen and water intake
. Mal standing caused by parasitic agents
. Insufficient solar radiation

– Sunburned or shrivelled grains: This physiopathology causes incomplete filling of grain and thus it remains lightweight and wrinkled resulting in significant economic losses. The onset of sunburned grains in triticale is related to the existence of imbalances between plant evapotranspiration and water intake. Usually, elevated temperatures for several days along with low humidity, often favour the occurrence of this physiopathology.