Triticale is a hardy and new winter cereal crop created in a laboratory environment by crossing wheat with rye. After years of effort over a 30-year period, plant breeders, in particular those at INRA (France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research), have succeeded in making this species very attractive to farmers. Indeed, Triticale is today producing yields equivalent to, or better than, those for wheat.
Annaig Bouguennec, INRA’s researcher in charge of the triticale programme, explains: “Triticale currently represents a good compromise between the hardiness of rye and the yield potential and nutritional qualities of wheat.”
Triticale is derived from crossing two other cereals widely cultivated in Europe: wheat and rye. Its name is a combination of the Latin names Triticum for wheat and Secale for rye. It was developed by scientists and is one of the rare artificial species produced by interspecies crossing, which today are the subject large-scale development in agriculture. However, it took great perseverance by researchers to obtain such results (see box).
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