Over the years the practice of growing wholecrop cereals — such as barley, sorghum, triticale, oats, and wheat — for silage is increasing in popularity due to the flexibility of the crop and improved inoculant technology that allows this aerobically unstable feedstuff to be ensiled.
Cereals can provide a wide harvesting window if they are to be foraged so can fit nicely into the often unpredictable weather patterns. Along with their consistent nutritional quality and yield, cereals can be a flexible addition to most livestock production systems.
As grass yields can be so reliant on the Spring weather the option to take a cut of Wholecrop to fill a bunker can be invaluable to ensure the right amount of forage is ensiled for the Winter ahead.
Cereals have the potential to create a starch-rich forage crop with a high dry matter (DM) yield from a single-cut system. Producers can make well-preserved silages with high energy — or starch — and low acid levels. Wholecrop cereals can provide a useful source for effective fibre, which is essential for maintaining healthy rumen function. Wholecrop cereals have a low protein content, making them an ideal balancer for grass silage. It can be a low-energy feed, which can reduce the energy density of the diet. However, wholecrop silages tend to promote higher DM intakes.
Due to the nature of the crop going into the bunker we would always recommend using a good Oxygen Barrier Cling film – Silostop Orange to ensure all the air pockets are eliminated. Topped with an Anti UV Cover to physically protect the film and securely weighed down it will then provide the perfect environment for the crop to rapidly ferment.
This link to the ADHB website gives a great guide to the various Wholecrops available.