Triticale (trit-ih-KAY-lee) is a crop species resulting from a plant breeder's cross between wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale). The name triticale (Triticale hexaploide Lart.) combines the scientific names of the two genera involved. It is produced by doubling the chromosomes of the sterile hybrid that results when crossing wheat and rye. This doubling produces what is called a polyploid.
Hybrids between wheat and rye date back to 1875, but until recently there was little effort to develop highyielding triticales as a field crop. Plant breeders originally wanted to include the combination of grain quality, productivity, and disease resistance of wheat with the vigor and hardiness of rye. The University of Manitoba began the first intensive program in North America about 30 years ago working mostly with durum wheat-rye crosses. Both winter and spring types were developed, with emphasis on spring types. Since Canada's program, other public and private programs have initiated both durum wheat-rye and common wheat-rye crosses. The major triticale development program in North America is now at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, with some private companies continuing triticale programs; however, the University of Manitoba has discontinued its program.
Even though triticale is a cross between wheat and rye, it is self-pollinating (similar to wheat) and not cross pollinating (like rye). Most triticales that are agronomically desirable and breed true have resulted from several cycles of improvement, but are primarily from the durum-rye crosses with some common wheat parentage occasionally involved.
In the 1960's, approximately 250,000 acres were grown annually in the United States, however markets did not develop as expected, particularly as a food. Today, there are only a few thousand acres grown and much of it is sold as a feed grain. Most of the production is in the western states. The southern states grow winter types which are grazed in the fall. In the Midwest there is some interest in using triticale as a forage crop.
Seeding Rate: 75 lbs. / Acre