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Wholecrop Rations for Cattle

9 November 2018
Cracked Wholecrop Wheat

Cracked Wholecrop Wheat

This summer saw an increased interest in the production of wholecrop cereal silage for feeding to livestock as an alternative forage. The majority is ensiled and fermented at dry matter (DM) concentrations ranging from 300 to 450 g/kg. It can also be ensiled at high DM concentrations ranging from 700 to 800 g/kg, where it is harvested through a forage harvester fitted with a grain processor and ensiled with a urea- based additive.

A review by Keady (2005), comparing replacing grass silage either partially or totally with wholecrop wheat fermented or urea treated increased dry matter intake but did not show any beneficial effect on carcass gain of beef cattle. However,  a study by Walsh et al. (2008) noted that replacing a low quality grass silage with whole crop wheat increased the performance of finishing beef cattle.

Below are some examples wholecrop rations using either fermented wholecrop or cracked wholecrop which has been urea treated.

400 kg medium steer gaining 1 kg/day:

Fermented Wholecrop Wheat
40% DM, 10.4 ME, 9.5% CP
Grass Silage: Fermented wholecrop wheat
Cracked Wheat Wholecrop (Alkalage)
75% DM, 10.8 ME, 13% CP
Wholecrop (kg)14.589.2
Grass Silage (kg)-8-
Rapeseed Meal (kg)0.60.4-
Mins/vits (kg)

650 kg spring calving suckler cow:

Fermented Wholecrop Wheat
40% DM, 10.4 ME, 9.5% CP
Cracked Wholecrop (Alkalage)
75% DM, 10.8 ME, 13% CP
Wholecrop (kg)127
Straw (kg)Ad-lib (approx 5 kg)Ad-lib (approx 5 kg)
Rapeseed Meal (kg)0.90.5
Mins/vits (kg)0.100.10

Mary McDowell,

Cracked Wholecrop Wheat

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