Assessing variety mixture of continuous spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) on grain yield and flour quality in Northeast China

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Key Laboratory of Mollisol Agroecology, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin 150081, China.

2 Center for Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 01003, USA.


Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) variety mixtures represent a relatively unexplored

avenue for maintaining yield and improving flour quality. A field experiment was

conducted to examine the responses of three spring wheat varieties in pure variety

and in variety mixtures under continuous cropping in Northeast China. Three modern

spring wheat varieties, along with a three-variety mixture and a two-variety mixture

of equal proportions, were planted during the growing seasons of 2006 to 2009. The

mixtures were chosen mainly to have complementary traits of yield potential and

grain quality. Wheat yield was not affected by continuous cropping but by growing

conditions, varieties and variety mixture. Yield stability of 3-variety mixture

exceeded that of the pure varieties. The 3-variety mixture consistently out-yielded the

means of the respective components (mid-components), with a mean advantage of

0.17 t ha-1 over the different growing conditions. Variety mixture offers greater yield

advantages over lower-yield but good-quality variety and improves dough

rheological properties and some chemical properties over the higher-yield variety.

The 1:1:1 variety mixtures have greater environmental plasticity and potential

application in improving flour quality than pure varieties and are therefore

recommended for use to Northeast China’s wheat growers even in the absence of

severe disease.

Keywords: Triticum aestivum; Cultivar blends; Yield stability; Flour quality; Test

weight; Sedimentation value.