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Triticale cereal crop provides boost to feed supply

Triticale cereal crop provides boost to feed supply

Triticale cereal crop provides boost to feed supply

A fourth-generation farmer, Phil Roberts and his family converted their North Canterbury farm from a sheep and cropping operation to a dairy farm. Having accumulated plenty of experience and knowledge in cropping, Phil appreciates the benefits of growing Agricom’s Prophet triticale, a high-yielding cereal crop.

Roberts Dairy is a 465 ha self-contained dairy farm milking 750 cows while grazing 130 beef cattle. Phil grows his own feed comprising of 32 ha of fodder beet, 25 to 30 ha of maize and 25 to 30 ha of triticale. Having previously grown barley, Phil made the switch to triticale.

“We used to grow a fair bit of barley,” says Phil, “but the window for harvesting was quite tight. Triticale offers a wider window so when I’m trying to organise a silage harvester, it makes life a lot easier.”

Phil’s triticale crop yields between 12 to 16 tonne per ha, providing bulk feed he uses as silage. He finds the large seedhead on the crop provides a good quantity of grain.

To avoid wastage, the entire plant is harvested. “I’m not just looking for the seedhead," says Phil. "If I harvest at the right time, the leaf will be on and the stalk will be green. This has value for me as my animals will get both the grain and straw. Why buy straw if I can feed them the triticale?”

With the stock happy to eat triticale, Phil says it is robust and easily handles the conditions. "The farm is on flat land and we have a secure water supply, so well suited to growing the crop.”

Phil acknowledges the crop fits the farm’s rotation of fodderbeet, maize, and pasture well, with the triticale following the maize which is harvested towards the end of April. This timing allows Phil to focus his attention on calving in spring rather than sowing new crops.

“I only have a fodder beet paddock to deal with, which once the cows have fed on it, will be sown back into maize at the end of calving when it is less hassle. I also find autumn drilling gives me a larger yield of triticale when compared to spring sown, and the timing means we harvest around Christmas.”

Assisting Phil with monitoring his crops is PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative Kaleb Bolton. “I have worked with Kaleb for four years now,” says Phil. “He’s my go-to man, helping me monitor my crops from planting to harvest, keeping a close eye on pests and diseases. He also recommends a control programme when it is needed. He’ll make sure the crops are up to scratch.”

Kaleb sees farmers from around the region using triticale within their farming systems, utilising the crop as a silage when they are short on feed or in need of a supplement that is high in carbohydrates. As he says, “if you get the harvest and silage timings right, triticale offers a good quality feed that fits into a rotation well.”

To discuss growing Agricom’s triticale as part of your crop rotation, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.