Wheat, barley and triticale crops that are at the soft dough stage will be in the desired harvest drymatter range as a standing crop. Climatic conditions approaching harvest time will greatly influence the increase in crop drymatter percentage. Research has shown triticale can increase by approximately 1% drymatter per day and barley by 1.5 - 2.0% per day, however under very hot dry conditions these drying rates will increase substantially and they can be slower in overcast conditions11.
To maximise silage quality:
- Collect a representative sample and send it to a commercial laboratory to determine drymatter levels.
- Preferably harvest using a precision chop forage harvester.
- Cut at approximately 7 - 10 cm in height.
- If the crop is drier, use a shorter chop length (20 mm) to assist with compaction.
- If the crop is wetter, increase the chop length to 50 mm.
11Forage Cereals: Harvesting whole-crop cereal silage. Agnote 1244. Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia.