Palatability of Fall Rye Forage - Frequently Asked Questions

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 I heard fall rye goes through a bitter stage at flowering?
Palatability of fall rye, and winter triticale have been shown to decrease at the flowering stage. Feed trials have determined palatability can be an issue for livestock consuming these crops at this stage.

When is the best time to harvest?
If silage is to be made from the crop, the milky to soft dough stage are the preferred times. As the plants mature, leaves are lost and protein content will decline. However, with maturing grain in the heads, energy may increase and ergot may form. Palatability and quality will rapidly decline after the soft dough stage as fiber levels increase.

What level of intake can be expected of fall rye during the winter feeding season?
Generally, fall rye and winter triticale are consumed at lower levels compared to traditional barley and oat silage. In some feeding trials the performance of the cattle was comparable to those cattle on barley and oat silage even with the reduced feed intake.

What management strategies need to be looked into before I feed the rye/triticale?
A representative feed sample should be submitted to a feed testing lab to, at least, determine energy and protein content. Crops harvested too late may be deficient in energy and rations will need to be balanced to ensure a successful feeding program.

For more information:
Using Fall Rye for Pasture, Hay and Silage

Prepared by Ag-Info Centre, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Karin Lindquist.
This document is maintained by Marie Glover.
This information published to the web on June 26, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on November 14, 2018.