This item has been supplied by a forage marketer and has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hay & Forage Grower.
The word ‘rye’ typically stirs up conversations of cover crops and soil health. While equally important topics, rarely do the discussions carry on to questions of silage yield, harvest dates, forage quality, and double cropping potential. With the launch of KWS hybrid rye silage varieties, that is about to change. KWS is a plant breeding company founded in Germany in 1856 that has successfully been breeding rye hybrids for over 20 years. The United States saw the launch of their hybrid rye grain varieties three years ago, and this fall they are unveiling a silage variety that could change the way producers think about rye. Hybrid rye is a winter cereal similar to triticale and winter wheat, that is planted from September 15 – October 15, depending on the region. Yield trials show approximately a 20% advantage in tonnage from hybrid rye silage when compared with other wheat and triticale varieties. In addition to a yield advantage, University of Wisconsin also noted that hybrid reached Feekes stage 10.1, or head emergence, 6 days earlier than triticale. This earlier maturity could be critical in a double cropping system; where a week during spring planting could mean the difference between success and failure for a crop. Additionally, this earlier harvest date could allow for diversified risk and workload management. Hybrid rye, when grown alongside other small grain silages, will allow producers to expand their harvesting time, ultimately allowing them to harvest more acres of silage per growing season.