Feeding cereal grains to livestock: triticale
Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye. It is a good alternative to wheat, with higher protein levels and lower input costs. Generally, it has a higher nutritional value than barley but is lower in fibre.
A reasonably high-yielding crop, this palatable grain has high energy and starch levels but is low in fibre and protein. Levels of calcium and vitamins A, D and E are also low.
Inclusion of triticale in the diet
The recommended inclusion rate of triticale grain in a supplementary feed is similar to that of wheat and should be generally limited to 50% of the total DM of the supplement, due to its similarly low digestible fibre content. However, this depends on method of processing. For example, crimped grain can usually be fed at higher rates.
Triticale can be included in rations fed to appetite (ad lib or in a total mixed ration) to rapidly growing animals. However, its inclusion should be limited to 50% of daily DM intake with rolled barley, or 60% when it is fed alongside a feed high in digestible fibre feed, such as rolled oats, sugar-beet pulp, soya hulls, oat feed or dried citrus pulp.
Processing into fine particles should be avoided, and light rolling is preferable to grinding. Provide long fibre in the form of cereal straw, aiming for an intake of up to 2 kg/head/day, depending on liveweight. Do not rely on cattle consuming enough bedding; have straw available in feeders.
Table 4. Average nutrient composition of dry triticale grain (% in DM or MJ/kg DM for ME)
Suited to marginal land and lighter soils. Needs pH >5.5.
Typical yield is 9.3 t/ha.
See ahdb.org.uk/rl for recommended varieties.
Optimum sowing dates range from September to early October for winter types, and from February to April for spring crops.
Carry out routine soil tests every three to four years to check pH, P and K. More information is available in the Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) or consult a FACTS-qualified adviser.
Options can be limited as there are fewer herbicides approved for use on triticale than wheat.
Wireworms, leatherjackets, aphids and slugs are common pests. See AHDB Encyclopaedia of pests and natural enemies in field crops.
Powdery mildew, yellow rust, brown rust and ergot can be particular problems. For identification, see AHDB/BASF The encyclopedia of cereal diseases.