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The object of growing a Forage Cereal is to achieve as high a yield as possible and the simple truth as that over the winter months forage cereals will out yield ryegrasses in terms of dry matter production. Nowadays high yields of forage cereals can be achieved by using a wide range of forage cereal cultivars that are available in the market.

With correct management, forage cereals can produce significant volumes of high quality dry matter in a short space of time. In such situations, trials indicate some forages can produce up to 30% more dry matter than annual ryegrass during the autumn/winter early-spring period.

Below are the various options of forage cereals available within New Zealand. These can either be used as Whole Crop Cereal Silage or a Greenfeed Crop:


(Sowing Rates: 100 – 120kg/ha)
Forage oats provide a large amount of feed for a single grazing during winter. They can be planted in February for early-winter grazing, through to April – May in mild climates for late-winter grazing. Oats are also popular for growing between maize crops and harvesting for green silage in September, because they can produce 44% more than annual ryegrass and are up to $600 per hectare more profitable to grow. Oats are also planted in early spring to produce green-chop silage. This is an effective way to ensure adequate silage storage in districts where dry spring weather often restricts amounts of grass silage that can be harvested.

Cultivars: Hokonui, Hattrick, Magnum, Milton, Makura.


(Sowing Rates: 120 – 150kg/ ha)
Barley is planted in spring or winter for whole-crop silage. It matures quicker than triticale, so becomes the preferred species when crops cannot be planted until mid to late-spring, or in dryland climates. Barley is also used as a stepping stone for establishing Lucerne.

Cultivars: Tavern, Cask, County, Dash, Doyen, Vortex, Bumpa, Monty


(Sowing Rates: 130 – 150kg/ha)
Triticale is a cross between wheat and ryecorn. Most autumn- planted triticale cultivars can only be grazed once, but DoubleTake is the only triticale that will reliably grow back after grazing, and can be grazed 1 – 2 times in winter and then kept for spring silage production. Triticale is also planted in winter and early-spring for whole- crop silage production, with no grazing.

Cultivars: DoubleTake, Prophet, Bolt, Crackerjack


(Sowing Rates: 200 – 250kg/ha)
Peas can be added to spring-planted triticale for whole-crop silage. Peas are a good option to boost ME and quality of silage.

Cultivars: Provider, Magnus


(Sowing Rates: 130 – 150kg/ha)
Ryecorn is used in a wide variety of situations over a wide range of soil types, farm locations and fertility rangers. Ryecorn can be either autumn or spring sown.

Cultivars: Rahu


(Sowing Rates: 120 – 150kg/ha)
Wheat is can be planted for spring, autumn or winter sowing. Wheat normally requires high fertility and moisture levels so it is normally sowed in better producing paddocks.

Cultivars: Einstein, Option, Wakanui, Exceed, Amarok, Raffles,Solstice, Savannah, Phoenix, Alberic, Morph.

Forage Cereal Common Mixes:

There are several commonly used mixes that involve forage cereals, these include, Oats & Peas or Vetches, Oats & Devour Annual ryegrass and Ryecorn & Kano Italian ryegrass. All of these mixes fill different roles and for more information on this please contact us.

Forage Cereal Sowing rates:
Use the lower recommended sowing rate for the earlier sowing’s (Autumn) and the higher recommended sowing rate for the later sowing dates (Spring).

Specialty Seeds are more than happy to recommend the most suitable cultivar for you and your region. Please click here to contact us about which forage cereal will best suit you.


For your free complete Growing Guide for Whole Crop Cereal Silage please click here to go to thedownloads page to get our Whole Crop Cereal Silage – Growing Guide