Agriculture is constantly facing struggles when it comes


Agriculture is constantly facing
struggles when it comes to the deleterious environmental effects of growing
crops. To improve soil quality, dairymen are looking to use a cover crops such
as triticale and want to know what the impact of triticale is on dairy cows.

Triticale is a wheat and rye hybrid crop
that is primarily used for feed. The nutritional value of triticale silage
begins when the hay is cut, ideally it should be harvested for silage at the
boot stage (Harper et al., 2017). In the studies that were reviewed, the
triticale silage constituted for no more than 50% of the ration (Cosentino et
al., 2015). However according to two articles the triticale silage should not
constitute more than 10% of the diet (Harper et al., 2017). In most studies,
there was not a significant change in milk yield or milk components with diets
containing triticale silage. One experiment showed that there was a negligible
decrease in milk yield compared to diets containing corn silage (Cabrita et
al., 2005).

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The downside of feeding triticale silage
would be growth rates for heifer development as triticale has lower growth
rates compared to other silages such as barley or oats (McCartney, 1993). This
could be due to a decrease in DMI compared to other silages (McCartney and
Vaage, 1993). An additional concern for the triticale is that it has an
increase rate of digestion in comparison to other cereal grain silages and the
animal and microbes would benefit from having additional forages added to help
slow it down (Myer, et al.,)

Triticale is a safe feed choice for dairy
cattle, but it should be fed in low percentages of the diet. Because it has
little effect on milk yield and milk components triticale silage there would be
no harm in adding triticale silage to a ration.