Not only can it be used as a replacement or additional source of home-grown forage, but it also offers soil management benefits when included as part of a rotation or used as a break crop. Wholecrop cereals can also be useful cover crops when establishing under-sown grass leys. Cereals are extremely versatile and can be grown in a wide range of geographic areas and conditions
Wholecrop mixes can combine wheat, barley, oats or triticale with a legume, such as peas or lupins. These mixtures provide a good source of home-grown protein, as well as starch.
Wholecrop also provides a costeffective, high-quality, home-grown forage of consistent quality and palatability. Even during dry seasons and periods of cold weather, wholecrop dry matter yields are high, often pushing between 35% and 40%. Depending on when a crop is sown, producers can hope to achieve between 9% and 11% protein and between 15% and 25% starch.
Spring-sown cereals or wholecrop mixtures are in the ground for a short time, typically between 12 and 14 weeks. This allows producers to harvest early and then reseed or drill subsequent autumn-combinable crops, increasing overall output per hectare.
When harvesting wholecrop, using an additive to optimise fermentation and reduce aerobic spoilage is recommended.