Mixed Cropping Systems and Climate Change in Tunisia
CMES Deputy Director Ronny Berndtsson has co-authored the article "Forage Potential of Cereal–Legume Mixtures as an Adaptive Climate Change Strategy under Low Input Systems" together with Rajia Kchaou (Tunisian National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry), Salah Benyoussef (National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia), Sihem Jebari (Tunisian National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry), and Kalthoum Harbaoui (Tunisian Higher School of Agriculture). The article is published in the journal Sustainability.
Mixed cropping systems can constitute important agroecological adaptation strategies for enhancing crop growth and productivity in view of climate change, while reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers and providing important ecosystem services. The aim of this study was to investigate growth, competitiveness, and productivity of two forage mixtures combining triticale (X triticosecale Wittmack) to common vetch (Vicia sativa L.), and to fenugreek (Trigonella fœnum-græcum L.) in different mixture combinations (40% T–60% V vs. 60% T–40% V and 40% T–60% F vs. 60% T–40% F). Field results showed that both forage legumes were higher inside the different crop mixtures (+225% for vetch, +94% for fenugreek) than in monocropping. In regard to the competition ration (CR), triticale was the more dominant and competitive species in three out of four studied mixtures. Forage yield was higher in crop mixtures than for corresponding sole crops. Yield gain was greater for common vetch-based mixtures than fenugreek ones (+60% vs. +30%). The results show that using cereal–legume mixtures can provide important productivity increase for fodder yield compared to conventional pure crops. The method is an important adaptive agricultural strategy in view of climate change.
Keywords: mixed cropping systems, triticale, fenugreek, common vetch, adaptation, climate change, agriculture