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Harvesting Winter Triticale Silage

Bill Verbeten, Field Crops
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

March 1, 2013
Harvesting Winter Triticale Silage

While the harvest of winter triticale silage is still a month away for most farms it's important to review what it takes to make high quality silage from this crop. Hopefully enough nitrogen fertilizer was put on at green-up (see Feb 2013 AgFocus article) to ensure high yields of 3-4 tons of DM per acre. Harvesting at the flag leaf growth stage, wide swathing, tedding, ensiling the same day as cutting, and applying a homolactic bacterial inoculant will enable NWNY farmers to put up winter triticale silage (and other small grain silages) that rivals haylage in forage quality.

Field Operations
Winter triticale harvest should happen about a week before the first haylage harvest since winter small grains start spring growth sooner than alfalfa and grasses. There will be about a 5-to-10 day window to harvest winter triticale once it reaches the flag leaf growth stage, Feeks Stage 9 (Figure 1). The seed head will still be in the stem, somewhere between half and three-quarters of the way up the stem. Once the seed heads are visible at the top of the stem the triticale has reach boot stage, Feeks Stage 10 (Figure 1), and forage quality will start to rapidly decline. Winter triticale will still make a great feed for heifers and dry cows and will continue to increase in tonnage up to the late boot stage if rain delays the harvest on some fields. Cutting the triticale low (1 inch or less) at these growth stages usually prevents any regrowth.

Laying the triticale in as wide of a swath as possible when cutting will increase the drying speed for the first 3-4 hours. The swaths should then be tedded after this initial drying time to expose the bottom and inside of the swaths to the sun and wind since only the outer inch of swath dries quickly. It is very important to SLOW down when tedding. Some farmers have learned this the hard way by literally tearing their tedders apart in the field by trying to move the 10-12 tons per acre of wet triticale silage too quickly. An even layer without large clumps should be present across the field after tedding. Conditioning small grain silage has not helped increase drying time in NY. The breaking of alfalfa stems generally helps hay crops dry quicker in the second or third day of drying.


Ensiling
Winter triticale silage should be put in the bag or bunker the same day as harvest if possible. Laying a wide swath and tedding will greatly reduce the silage moisture, especially on sunny and windy days. Even with lower dry matter silages (~30% DM), same-day ensiling has generally reduced the occurrence of butyric (black/slimy) layers in the silage. Initial research has shown that as the temperatures fall overnight, respiration (micro-organisms breaking down the silage into CO2) increases and leads to more spoilage. Inoculating with a homolactic bacteria can also help improve fermentation and decrease spoilage. Area farmers have had success using a number of different products for inoculation of winter triticale silage.

Contact Bill Verbeten at 585-313-4457 or wdv6@cornell.edu if you have further questions about harvesting winter triticale or other small grain silages.


Figure 1: Winter Triticale Growth Stages (pdf; 115KB)


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Upcoming Events

Dairy Cattle Summer Research Update

July 18, 2019
7:00-9:00pm
Batavia, NY

After the day's work is done, come hear about two new research trials conducted by Julio Giordano's lab:
  • Strategies for improving dairy cattle reproductive performance and economics
  • Using automated sensors for improving dairy cattle health monitoring and management

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Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

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July 23, 2019
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Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
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Announcements

USDA Announces New Decision Tool for New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2019 ? Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today the availability of a new web-based tool - developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin - to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized
DMC, a voluntary risk management program that offers financial protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. It replaces the program previously known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Sign up for this USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) program opens on June 17.

"With sign-up for the
DMC program just weeks away, we encourage producers to use this new support tool to help make decisions on participation in the program," Secretary Perdue said. "Dairy producers have faced tough challenges over the years, but the DMC program should help producers better weather the ups and downs in the industry."

The University of Wisconsin launched the decision support tool in cooperation with FSA and funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. The tool was designed to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. It allows farmers to simplify their coverage level selection by combining operation data and other key variables to calculate coverage needs based on price projections.

The decision tool assists producers with calculating total premiums costs and administrative fees associated with participation in
DMC. It also forecasts payments that will be made during the coverage year.

"
The new Dairy Margin Coverage program offers very appealing options for all dairy farmers to reduce their net income risk due to volatility in milk or feed prices," said Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Higher coverage levels, monthly payments, and more flexible production coverage options are especially helpful for the sizable majority of farms who can cover much of their milk production with the new five million pound maximum for Tier 1 premiums. This program deserves the careful consideration of all dairy farmers."

For more information, access the tool at fsa.usda.gov/dmc-tool. For
DMC sign up, eligibility and related program information, visit fsa.usda.gov or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.


New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.

https://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=761&crumb=dairy|1

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