Sowing crops as mixtures of varieties instead of a monoculture can result in more stable yields, especially in variable environments. Creissen et al. grow dissimilar Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes in monocultures and mixtures under strong competition and abiotic stress, and find that mixtures achieve more stable seed production through compensatory interactions. Competitive ability and performance in mixtures can be predicted from above-ground traits, even though below-ground competition appears to be more intense. The results suggest that phenotype screens of varieties could improve the choice of mixtures for agriculture in unpredictable environmental conditions.
Arabidopsis thaliana genotype mixtures under strong competition and abiotic stress achieve more stable seed production through compensatory interactions.