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Interpretive Summary: Effects of harvest date and growth stage on triticale forages in the southwest USA: kinetics of in vitro disappearance of fiber and dry matter

By: Wayne K. Coblentz, and Michael J. Ottman

Recently, there has been increased interest in including triticale within forage programs throughout the southwest USA. Unless there is an urgency for removing the triticale crop, such as those created by a feed shortage or need to establish a secondary crop, harvest management decisions should be based on plant growth stage, and not calendar date. Assuming a common growth stage, this work suggests that most triticale cultivars will differ only modestly with respect to digestibility before the onset of grain fill. However, producers should be cautious of cultivars with unique or atypical phenotypic traits, such as exceptional canopy height, which may cause exceptions to the previous generalization. If yield is a critical management objective, harvest should most likely be delayed until after the onset of grain fill, but cultivar selection can become more complicated at that time because varying contributions from the filling grain head can radically affect overall digestibility of dry matter (DM). In this respect, producers should carefully evaluate their nutritional and production goals to assess whether their needs prioritize digestible fiber or overall DM digestibility, the latter of which can have limited contributions from digestible fiber.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science