Secondary growth rye or triticale silage: Small-grain cereals as a dual-purpose forage option for small-scale dairy systems in the highlands of Mexico

Jesús I. Vega-García1, Felipe López-González1*, Ernesto Morales-Almaraz2, and Carlos M. Arriaga-Jordán1
Small-grain cereals may be a forage alternative for small-scale dairy systems under limiting climatic conditions given their short agronomic cycle. Cereals as dual-purpose forages (grazing and silage) have not been evaluated in Mexico. The objective was to assess the inclusion of rye (Secale cereale L.) (SCS) or triticale (×Triticosecale spp.) silage (TRS). The treatments were: T1 = 10 kg DM cow-1 d-1 SCS, T2 = 10 kg DM TRS, in both treatments with grazing access (8 h d-1) of a Kikuyu grass (Cenchrus clandestinus (Hochst. ex Chiov.) Morrone) pasture and supplemented with 3.6 kg DM cow-1 d-1 concentrate; in a double cross-over with six cows and three 14 d experimental periods, animal (milk yield, live weight, body condition score, and sampling for milk composition) and feed variables (net herbage accumulation, sward height and sampling for chemical composition) were recorded during the last 4 d of each period. There were no differences (P > 0.05) between treatments for milk yield (13.3 ± 2.8 kg cow-1 d-1), live weight (512.1 ± 85.9 kg), body condition score (2.2 ± 0.2), milk fat (35.8 ± 5.2 g kg-1), milk protein (27.8 ± 0.6 g kg-1), milk urea N (9.8 ± 2.5 mg dL-1) or milk pH (6.8 ± 0.07). Feeding costs were lower in SCS (P < 0.05); which may be an alternative for small-scale dairy systems. It is concluded that both rye and triticale are good alternatives as dual-purpose forage crops.
Keywords: Dry season, feeding strategies, Secale cereale, second cut cereal silage, small-scale dairy systems, ×Triticosecale spp.
1Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Instituto de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Rurales (ICAR), Campus UAEM El Cerrillo, Toluca, Estado de México, México.2Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Campus UAEM El Cerrillo, Toluca, Estado de México, México.*Corresponding author (flopezg@uaemex.mx).