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Triticale is a relatively new cereal crop and is a wheat-rye hybrid derived from crossing soft winter and soft spring wheat, as well as durum wheat and rye.

The name comes from a compound of two Latin words – Triticum (wheat) and Secale (rye). Morphologically, it is an intermediate form between wheat and rye. The spikelet of triticale successfully combines the multi-spike character of rye and the multi-flower character of wheat.

Triticale spike
Triticale spike
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©Rasbak (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Economic importance

Triticale has a high potential yield, with a high protein content in the grain, resistance to adverse environmental factors and diseases.

The valuable qualities include:

  • coarse grain with a protein content of 13-18% and lysine;
  • complex immunity to fungal diseases;
  • good winter hardiness;
  • high potential productivity;
  • ability to grow on poor soils.

At present, winter and spring forms of triticale have been bred. 

The grain is used in baking, confectionery, brewing, and as animal feed. Bread made from triticale flour is inferior to wheat bread in quality but equal to rye bread. Straw is used as fodder and as bedding for animals.

Forage varieties of triticale are used for green fodder, early silage, for preparation of grass meal, fodder pellets and briquettes. All varieties are well eaten by animals.

Its grain yield is 5-7 t/ha, while green mass yields reach 40-50 t/ha. Under intensive agricultural technology, it may yield up to 8 t/ha of grain and up to 70 t/ha of green matter. For example, a grain yield of 9.2 t/ha was obtained at the Novoalexandrovsky variety site in the Stavropol Territory.

Triticale grain contains 1-1.5% more protein than wheat, and 3-4% more than rye. The amount of gluten is the same as in wheat, or 2-4% more, but its quality is worse.

Wheat-rye amphidiploids are young plant forms that still have a number of disadvantages, such as high through-grain, poor grain threshing capacity, and poor flour quality. Triticale is studied in many countries of the world, as it is of great interest as a grain and fodder crop. At present, it is widespread in the Volga region, the Central Black Earth zone, the Sulfur Caucasus, the Non-Black Earth zone, the Southern Urals, and Siberia.

Cultivation areas and yields

In Russia, triticale is cultivated in the same areas as winter wheat and winter rye. The area under cultivation is less than 100 thousand hectares. The largest areas are concentrated in the North Caucasus and the Central Black Earth zone.

Biological features

Winter forms of triticale are relatively winter hardy, withstanding frosts as low as -18 … -20 °C in the tillering node area.

Moisture requirements

For swelling and germination of triticale seeds, 50-60% of water of dry seed mass is consumed. The highest productivity is observed when the soil moisture is 65-75% of the lowest moisture capacity. The maximum moisture consumption occurs during the period of intensive growth – in the phase of emergence of a tube and during the formation and filling of the grain.

Soil requirements

Soils are less demanding than winter wheat. It grows well on sod-podzolic, gray forest, light loamy and sandy loam soils. Yield is highest on chernozem soils with a pH of 5.5-7. Swampy and saline chernozems are less suitable.


Triticale grows better in the fall and continues in the spring. The total bushiness at optimal sowing dates during the fall period is 3-6.

Triticale is a self-pollinating plant, but cross-pollination is not excluded. It ripens 3-5 days later than winter wheat. Its growing season lasts 250 to 325 days.

There are the following phases of growth and development:

  • sprouting;
  • tillering;
  • emergence into the tube;
  • earing;
  • flowering;
  • milky ripeness of grain;
  • waxy ripeness of grain;
  • full ripeness of grain.

Crop rotation

Triticale is less demanding to predecessors than winter wheat.

The best forecrop in the crop rotation are bare fallow (black fallow), seeded and green manure fallows, leguminous crops, early potatoes, perennial and annual grasses. A good yield is also obtained after cereal crops, as it is little affected by root rot. A good predecessor for other crops.

Fertilizer system

According to the data of the Department of Crop Production of the Moscow Agricultural Academy, triticale takes out 28-50 kg of nitrogen, 12-16 kg of phosphorus, 26-40 kg of potassium for the formation of 1 t of grain and the corresponding amount of straw. The maximum consumption of nutrients is in the phase of emergence of a tube and during the period of formation and filling of grain.

Doses of fertilizers are determined by soil fertility, moisture supply and planned yields. Norm of the main organic fertilizer on sod-podzolic soils is 35-40 t / ha, on chernozem 20-25 t/ha.

Mineral fertilizers are applied in doses of N45-60P60-70K45-60. On a bare fallow – N30P60K60, on the seeded fallow – N60P90K60. At the same time with sowing in the rows make P15-20. In the spring top dressing give N60-40.

Tillage system

Main article: Tilling for winter crops

Tillage system depends on the preceding crop, weed infestation of the field, types of weeds, and soil and climatic conditions. Triticale tillage is similar to winter wheat and winter rye.


Seed preparation

For sowing, use leveled, sorted seeds with purity not less than 97%, I and II grade with germination rate for grain varieties of class I – 95%, class II – 92%, forage respectively 90 and 85%.

In case of seed shortage, it is possible to use seeds of class III with germination for grain varieties of 90%, for forage – 80%. Freshly harvested seeds are subjected to air-heating before sowing.

Triticale is not affected by smut and is resistant to dust bunt, so seed dressing is not carried out.

Timing of sowing

Triticale is more demanding than winter wheat when sowing. The optimal sowing date is the middle and the end of the optimal sowing date of winter wheat.

At the Research Institute of Agriculture of the Central Black Earth Belt (Voronezh region), it was found that the highest yield is achieved when sowing after the seeded fallow on September 1 – 5.53 t/ha. Earlier (August 20) and later (September 10) result in lower yields.

Sowing methods

The best methods of sowing – narrow-row and cross-row, let’s assume the usual row.

Seeding rates

Triticale is sown at a higher rate than winter wheat. Seeding rates depend on the zone of cultivation, in general they are from 3.5 to 7.5 million/ha of germinated seeds.

In experiments, the Department of Plant Industry, Moscow Agricultural Academy, on average over 1980-1983, the maximum yield of the variety Amphidiploid 206 3.73 t / ha was obtained at a seeding rate of 6.5 million/ha of germinating seeds. Increasing or decreasing the seeding rate resulted in lower yields.

Seeding rates are recommended for triticale:

  • in the Non-Black Soil zone – 6-6.5 million germinated seeds per hectare;
  • in the Central Black Earth zone – 5-6 million germinated seeds per hectare;
  • in Belarus – 5.5-6 million germinating seeds per hectare;
  • in Siberia – 7-7.5 million germinating seeds per hectare;
  • in Ukraine in the forest-steppe zone – 4.5-5.5 million germinated seeds per hectare.

Seeding rates are specified depending on soil and climatic conditions, agrotechnics and the purpose of cultivation. Forage varieties are sown with an increased seeding rate.

Sowing depth

Triticale is more sensitive to the depth of sowing than winter wheat. The sowing depth depends on the granulometric composition of the soil and moisture, generally ranging from 5 to 8 cm.

Crop care

When sowing in loose unsettled soil or in case of insufficient moisture, post-sowing rolling is carried out. In spring, triticale plants start to grow earlier, quickly form secondary roots and are 1.5-2 times ahead of winter wheat. For this reason, surface spring top dressing is done earlier and root dressing as soon as it is possible to go to the field.

The forms and doses of fertilizers are the same as for winter wheat.


Triticale grains are tightly enclosed in spikelet scales and do not shatter during ripening. One- and two-phase harvesting methods are used. Since the grain is larger than that of winter wheat, when threshing to avoid crushing it increase the gap between the drum and the drum-under and reduce the number of revolutions of the drum to 600 per minute.

Grain cleaning and sorting is carried out on grain cleaning machines with sieves with larger openings.

Forage varieties for green fodder and silage are harvested in the earing phase.


V.V. Kolomeychenko. Horticulture/Textbook. – Moscow: Agrobiznesentr, 2007. – 600 с. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Horticulture/P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko. Vavilov. ed. by P.P. Vavilov, V.S. Kuznetsov et al. – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and Tutorials for Higher Education Institutions).

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Farming and plant growing. Ed. by V.S. Niklyaev. – Moscow: “Bylina”. 2000. – 555 с.