West-Central Forage Association

Triticale Swath Grazing

Triticale Final Project Summary

Triticale Final Project Full Report-email for a link

Triticale Economic Comparison 2011-2012

Triticale Economic Comparison 2012-2013

Triticale Fillable Producer Economics Excel Spread Sheeet

Triticale Swath Grazing Fact Sheet


The objectives of this project were to see if triticale (winter and spring varieties) were a viable option (in terms of nutritional quality, cost of production, utilization and palatably) when compared to other cereal forage crops.  The project set out to determine how different varieties of spring and winter triticale grew and yielded on field scale demonstration sites.  In addition, the project assessed the effect triticale may have on beef cattle performance and the value of integrating winter and spring triticale varieties to extend the grazing period through swath grazing.


Swath grazing can be used to extend the grazing season and reduce the cost and time needed for harvesting forage, machinery use for handling feed and labour, and eliminate the cost of corral cleaning, manure spreading and feed handling for cattle producers.  Work at the Lacombe Research Centre on swath grazing triticale has shown promising results - 4 ft tall crops, over 20,000 lb/acre of dry matter, 600 cow days per acre, 91% utilization of crop all at a cost of $1.00 per cow day.   


The fields sites used in this project were managed by local producers who used them in their own swath grazing systems.  The project began in the 2009 - 2010 growing season and will continue into the 2012 - 2013 growing season.  Three different producers participated in the project.  Spring triticale (Bunker or Tyndal), winter triticale (Pika) or a combination of spring and winter triticale was used.  Seeding times varied by year and location.  In 2009 the field was seeded June 2-4, in 2010 the field was seeded July 8, and in 2011 one site was seeded June 12, while the other was seeded August 1.   In all grazing situations cattle were given limited access though electric fencing with 1-3 days grazing.

Preliminary results

Overall, the results from this project are encouraging and triticale is proving to be a good quality crop that cattle find palatable and consume readily.  It tends to at least maintain quality (protein content and total digestible nutrient content,TDN) after is has been swathed and throughout the winter swath grazing season with very little mold making it a valuable grazing crop (Figure 1A and 1B).  In 2011 - 2012, one site was seeded quite late due to the weather (August 1).  Even though the triticale in this site did not have the chance to fully mature and get to the boot stage, it produced an extremely high quality winter grazing crop for cattle (17-24% protein and 76-73% TDN) (See Figure 2).  At this site, winter triticale had a higher TDN content (73.0 %) than spring triticale (67.9%) or spring/winter triticale (68.7 %; P=0.02).   In the same year, triticale that was seeded earlier and had time to mature contained average protein and TDN levels (7-10% and 61-65%) (Figure 3).

The nutritional values of the triticale crops make them excellent crops for winter swath grazing.  The late seeded triticale crop in the 2011-2012 season proved to be too rich a crop for the cows to eat straight; as a result, straw bales were added to the swath grazing system in order to increase fibre consumption by the cows.  Producers managing these sites had good experiences and gave positive feedback, stating cows performed well on the sites and that they were eager to plant it again. 

Next Steps

Data collection is ongoing and will continue for the 2012 - 2013 growing season for all 3 sites.  Yearly data will be complied and summarized to compare nutritional values of the different varieties of triticale within the demonstration sites.  Complete grazing information will be collected and summarized into animal days per acre. 

This project is currently being funded by: Agriculture & Food Council (Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program) and Alberta Beef Producers

2009- 2010 Tritcale


Figure 1: Crude protein (A) and total digestible nutrients (B) of spring triticale, spring/winter triticale and winter triticale on one site over the 2009 - 2010 winter grazing season.  This site was swathed September 18th.   


Figure 2: Crude protein (CP) and total digestible nutrients (TDN) of spring triticale, winter triticale and spring/winter for one site in the 2011 - 2012 winter grazing season that was seeded late (August 1).  This site was swathed September 30 (before these samples were taken).   


Figure 3: Crude protein (A) and total digestible nutrients (B) of spring/ winter triticale, spring triticale, and winter triticale in the 2011 - 2012 winter grazing season.  This site was swathed September 22. 



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