Triticale is a crop that is being used more and more in the western United States although it has been used in the Middle East for many years. Originally used as feed, Triticale drew mixed reviews. Some ranchers loved the fact that it would grow in dry, marginal soils while others complained about the have awn on the seed causing problems with their cattle and its’ low palatability. This happened because the early varieties weren’t as good of quality and the ranchers let the plants get too mature.
Our own R B Triticale has very reduced awn and was bred by Oregon State University for heavy leafiness and high palatability. Its’ primary use is for hay and grazing, not grain. Some ranchers and dairymen complain that Triticale hay doesn’t have enough protein and feed value. This can be remedied by cutting back on the Triticale seed amount and adding an annual clover. The quality is much better and the yields are the same. We follow the main crop after its’ harvest with our Triticale in the early fall, let it get up about a foot high and then winter and spring graze it, pulling off in April and cutting in June. At that point we water, wait a week to ten days, spray to kill any volunteer, and drill our RB Forage corn into the stubble. After harvest of the corn in the fall, we plant back with Triticale.
Triticale can also be planted into a poor alfalfa stand after the last cutting which will really boost the next years’ first cutting. The stand can then be plowed down and planted to our RB Forage corn. After the corn is harvested or winter grazed the soil is ready to go back into a permanent stand.