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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 717562, 8 pages
Research Article

The Response of Durum Wheat to the Preceding Crop in a Mediterranean Environment

1Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy
2Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80, 56124 Pisa, Italy
3Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Via delle Piagge 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy

Received 8 July 2014; Accepted 8 September 2014; Published 21 October 2014

Academic Editor: Volker Mohler

Copyright © 2014 Laura Ercoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Crop sequence is an important management practice that may affect durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) production. Field research was conducted in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons in a rain-fed cold Mediterranean environment to examine the impact of the preceding crops alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), maize (Zea mays L.), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), and bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) on yield and N uptake of four durum wheat varieties. The response of grain yield of durum wheat to the preceding crop was high in 2007-2008 and was absent in the 2008-2009 season, because of the heavy rainfall that negatively impacted establishment, vegetative growth, and grain yield of durum wheat due to waterlogging. In the first season, durum wheat grain yield was highest following alfalfa, and was 33% lower following wheat. The yield increase of durum wheat following alfalfa was mainly due to an increased number of spikes per unit area and number of kernels per spike, while the yield decrease following wheat was mainly due to a reduction of spike number per unit area. Variety growth habit and performance did not affect the response to preceding crop and varieties ranked in the order Levante > Saragolla = Svevo > Normanno.