2 April 1999

Triticale: Second forage without lowering yield?

WHERE it is hard to produce good maize yields, triticale may offer a solution, providing a second forage without reducing cow yield.

Ronald Zom of the Lelystad Research Station in Holland said that triticale – a hybrid of rye and wheat – sown in winter, so was less sensitive to a shortage of summer rainfall. Maize is sensitive to drought at flowering.

On drought prone, sandy soils yields of triticale can be higher at 11-13t DM/ha (4.5-5.3t/acre).

But because the energy content of triticale silage is lower than maize, at 8 ME compared with 10.5 ME, respectively, milk yield would be expected to fall.

However, in studies comparing feeding forages of half maize silage and half grass silage with half triticale and half grass silage, milk yields were unaffected, with cows producing 31.2kg and 30.8kg, respectively. He believes that the energy content of triticale silage is underestimated.