Forage cereals have a higher winter growth rate than most pasture options. Growth rates can vary based on the species, but generally cereals offer flexibility to any farming operation through sowing, grazing and silage or hay.
Cereals also play an important role in paddock preparation and weed control. Oats generally provide the most forage of all cereal crops. However, they can all be grazed very satisfactorily.
Forage cereals can be harvested either as a cut and wilted crop or direct cut and ensiled.
When planning the harvest for silage it is important to consider the following:
• Whether it is intended for animal finishing systems or simply maintenance rations
• The quality of the dry matter yield you are seeking
• The soil types and anticipated weather conditions at harvest
• If spring sowing, when the follow-up pasture needs to be sown
• If double cropping, when the follow-up crop needs to be sown
• If you have access to the correct harvesting equipment