Double Cropping

Double Cropping Winter Triticale and MC MasterGraze corn

Dairy farms that are able to use a 12-month double-cropping strategy can maximize the return on their forage production investment. Milk producers are always looking for new ways to increase forage production on their own land. In most situations a dairy operator can produce his own feed for a lot less than he can buy it, and control nutrient management plans more effectively.

One proven way to increase forage production while promoting nutrient uptake on home acreage is double-cropping. This often involves spring-planted silage corn followed by late summer-planted winter triticale, which is harvested as silage or hay the following spring before replanting corn. Typically the triticale is planted the second week of September and is ensiled during the last two weeks of April or the first two weeks in May. Corn is planted by May with an expected cutting date in early September.

Double crop yields on 12-month forage plans represent exciting opportunities for growers. Insufficient GDU’s, or heat units, in northern climates have caused many producers to shy away from double cropping. However, with MC MasterGraze as the summer annual corn companion, we only need 60-70 days to wet hay harvest; -- so the schedule “fits” their weather management too. The unusually high milk producing qualities of triticale and MasterGraze coupled with great yields make them the perfect combination to pair for maximum milk/acre management.

The more high-quality forage produced on the home farm, the less you need to spend on balancing rations. Besides, the nitrogen and phosphorous uptake of a second crop is a big help with nutrient management. -- In addition to improved production and nutrient uptake, there are real benefits in winter triticale and MasterGraze rations with improved test and butterfat.