Winter Cereals as Double Crops in Corn Rotations on New York Dairy Farms

  •  Quirine Ketterings    
  •  Shona Ort    
  •  Sheryl Swink    
  •  Greg Godwin    
  •  Thomas Kilcer    
  •  Jeff Miller    
  •  William Verbeten    


Weather extremes in 2012 and 2013 impacted corn silage and hay yields for many dairies in the northeastern United States and prompted a growing interest in double cropping of winter cereals for harvest as high quality forage in the spring. Here we report on (1) forage yield ranges of cereal rye and triticale in corn-cereal rotations in New York in 2012-2014, and (2) survey results of 30 New York farm managers who grew winter cereals as double crops with corn silage in 2013. Yields averaged 3.62 and 4.88 Mg ha-1 for cereal rye and triticale, respectively. On average, the surveyed farmers planted 8% of their tillable acres to winter cereal with the intent to harvest as forage. Triticale was the most frequently seeded double crop (70%). Most stands were established with a drill (57%). Manure was applied to 37% of the fields. Fertilizer nitrogen (N) was applied at dormancy break by 79% of the farmers with a median application rate of 67 kg N ha-1. The biggest challenge with the double-crop rotation, identified by the farmers, was timely seeding of the double crop in the fall given late corn silage harvest and early onset of frost in the Northeast. Despite challenges encountered and questions about the impact of harvest of the winter cereal on the main crop, 83% of the surveyed farmers planned to continue to grow double crops.

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