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Triticale is a man-made hybrid crop that was developed by crossing wheat with rye. The name 'triticale' is derived from the first few letters of the scientific names of wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale cereale). Triticale is thus, a combination of the potential of high yield and good grain quality of wheat along with the capability of rye to tolerate disease and environmental changes. When wheat and rye are crossed, wheat is used as the female parent while rye is used as the male parent. This male parent in known as a pollen donor.

The resultant hybrid, triticale, is sterile, and thus needs to be treated chemically with 'colchicine', an alkaloid chemical. This treatment helps in increasing the fertility of the hybrid, thereby enabling it to reproduce itself.

History of Triticale

Triticale is a new and modern form of hybrid, although attempts to cross breed wheat and rye were made as far as late the 1800s. The first form of triticale was developed in 1876 in Scotland but its development on a full scale began only in the 1930s. Even then, scientists were not sure if this crop was capable to be used commercially. After a detailed research and innovation, triticale was declared perfect for commercial production in the year 1969. During this time, both winter and spring triticale was developed. These two varieties are helpful in breaking the cycles of pest and disease in cereal cropping system.

Types of Triticale
The two basic varieties of triticale available commercially are:
  • Spring Triticale: Spring triticale is tolerant to drought and this feature makes it an excellent form of crop over other cereal crops. For barley and oats, spring triticales form an excellent option, especially in dry land condition. The cultivars of spring triticale require a longer growing season to mature as compared to common wheat. Spring triticale has 1000 kernel weight which is 20% higher than that of wheat. However, spring triticale is more susceptible to sprouting in swath conditions, which puts it in slightly disadvantageous position
  • Winter Triticale: As compared to spring triticale, winter triticale takes less of time to mature and also provides a very high yield. It matures two to three weeks earlier than spring triticale under certain soil zones. Sometimes, winter triticale is added with barley and oats and the resulting mixture is used as a high quality silage crop.
Uses of Triticale
Triticale is used in the following areas:
  • Being a good source of many vital nutrients, it is used as breakfast cereal. Flour from triticale is used in making breads and other bakery items
  • It is also used as forage and silage crops
  • Triticale is also used as an animal feed
  • It is also used as a winter grazing crop.
Nutritional Aspects of Triticale

Triticale is very low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium. It also contains adequate amounts of important minerals like phosphorus and manganese. Other nutrients include fiber, calcium, protein, thiamine, etc.