Evaluation of Forage Yield and Quality in Chickpea/Barley Intercropping



To study the mixing rates effects of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and chickpea (desi type) (Cicer ariethinum L.) on forage production under dryland conditions, a field experiment was conducted at Agricultural Research Station of University of Tehran (Karaj campus) during the 2003 – 2004 growing season. The 11 Treatments of this experiment were statistically compared based on a Randomized Complete Block Design of three replications. Experimental treatments were arranged as a factorial of sowing density levels of chickpea (100%, 75% and 50% of pure stand) and barley (100%, 75% and 50% of pure stand). Also two additional treatments of chickpea and barley sole cropping were established as control. Barley grain (Valfajr cultivar) and chickpea (4322 ecotype) were simoultaniously planted on 20th December, green forage being harvested on 10th May (next year). No manure or irrigation was applied in this experiment (dryland system adopted). Forage was harvested taking into account chickpea phenology (early flowering stage). Barley was the dominant plant in all the mixed treatments. Results showed that forage yield of chickpea and barley was significantly affected by mixing rate (P<0.01). There was no significant difference among treatments including 100% chickpea for chickpea yield. A similar pattern was observed for barley grain yield. The highest forage yield of 2981 Kg/ha was obtained for chickpea100+barley100 intercrop treatment. Forage quality investigation showed that all qualitative traits except Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC), were affected by mixing rate. Although the highest protein yield (358.5 Kg/ha) was earned from Chickpea50+Barley50 treatment, there was no significant difference observed with Chickpea100+Barley100 treatment (318.4 Kg/ha). Meanwhile, introducing chickpea into barley cropping system augmented forage ash as well as crude fiber.