Triticale is a low maintenance cereal with an aggressive growth habit and robust agronomic characteristics that is increasing rapidly in popularity with farmers across the country. New Winter and Spring sown varieties are now available that have seen a major improvement in the crops potential value to the grower. Elsoms works in partnership with French plant breeder Florimond Desprez and through it's modern varieties has maintained it's position as a market leader in this sector. A long term research project is currently being carried out by AHDB/ADAS, supported by a range of companies, looking at the potential for triticale to provide substantially improved gross margins, in comparison to winter wheat, across a range of situations. Information on this project can be obtained from the down loads on this page, or directly from the organisations themselves.
Adrian Hayler at Elsoms Triticale Trials
Late October Sown Trimour Triticale in North Lincolnshire
Spring Sown Trimour Triticale in North Lincolnshire
Position on the farm and in the rotation
Triticale is a crop which is derived from a cross between wheat and rye and has been grown in the UK for well over 50 years. It is a relatively long strawed cereal and best suited to drought prone, light yielding sites. Triticale is less affected than wheat by Take All and it is therefore a favoured crop instead of a third or fourth wheat. Within a rotation, or on lighter soils, triticale is likely to be a financially better option than wheat when predicted wheat yields drop below 6 or 6.5 tonnes per ha. Triticale is less likely to be grazed by rabbits over winter and is therefore useful when fields are close to woodlands.
Triticale can be sown from late September onwards. It is relatively unresponsive to time of sowing so most of the crop is sown in October and even November. There are also some varieties which do not have a vernalisation requirement and can therefore be spring sown. Seed rates will vary with drilling date and soil conditions. Triticale is a relatively poor tillering species but a normal mid October drilling rate is 325-350 seeds per square metre or 130-140 kg per ha. Seed is usually supplied without seed treatment unless high fusarium levels are detected in the seed stocks as they were in 2012 autumn.
Triticale should be treated like a barley or lower yielding wheat crop. The deep roots of triticale will give the crop the ability to scavenge for nitrogen (and water) and applied Nitrogen levels will be around 125 kg/ha. Weed control is likely to be easier as it is a tall smothering crop and the spring sown option gives a good opportunity for autumn blackgrass control. PGR use is likely to be a single application, and with generally good disease resistance there will be a lighter touch on fungicide application.
Harvesting and marketing
Winter sown triticale will come to harvest a little earlier than winter wheat. Yields will reflect the poorer soil or rotational situation and will be between 5 and 7.5 tonnes per ha. The grain has a high value for pig and poultry rations due to its high Lysine content. It is well suited to on farm use in such situations. It can be blended away with wheat and sold off farm, but as a relatively minor crop there are low total volumes being traded and it is difficult to obtain open market prices which reflect its true value as a monogastric feed. Usual ex farm feed values are therefore often £2-3 per tonne below feed wheat. There is a growing trend in the West and North to harvest triticale – especially from a spring sown crop-at the milky ripe stage and ensile the crop to produce a high volume, easily digestible whole crop silage. Triticale is also extremely beneficial in an Anaerobic Digester with production synergies when the ensiled crop is mixed at about 25% into a predominately maize feeding system...