Winter forages: cover crops on steroids


Winter forages: cover crops on steroids

A private consultant and researcher says planting triticale as a winter forage is providing benefits for the environment and farmers’ bottom line.

Thomas Kilcer with Advanced Ag Systems LLC tells Brownfield winter forages can provide many of the benefits of cover crops like improving soil structure and health and can be used as a high-quality feed.

“A winter forage is a cover crop on steroids,” he says.

When comparing different crops like barley, wheat, cereal rye, and triticale, triticale has the highest protein value and allows for double cropping of corn or soybeans.

“The other piece we discovered is you harvest the winter forage, you harvest your haylage, and then we come back in early June, spray a low rate of Roundup, and no-till alfalfa,” he explains.

He says that approach also helps balance a farmer’s harvest workload in the spring while also increasing yields in fields by 25-35 percent.

Kilcer was a featured speaker during this week’s Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference.