Small-grain forage mixtures for silage: Yield and botanical, morphological and chemical composition

Sirley Carrillo-Hernández, Felipe López-González, José Velarde-Guillén, Carlos Manuel Arriaga-Jordan


In small-scale dairy systems (SSDS), multispecies pastures and small-grain cereal silages have been shown to be a feasible option to cope with the possible effects of climate change, such as erratic rainfall patterns and temperature extremes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the agronomic variables and green forage and silage quality of a binary mixture of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and rye (Secale cereale) compared to a ternary mixture of barley, rye, and triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack) in two zones (San Joaquín and Tixhiñú) in the Mexican central highlands. A complete randomized design with factorial arrangement was used with the two mixtures and two locations as factors. The binary crop showed a 13.3 cm greater height (P<0.05), and forage production was similar between mixtures (P>0.05). The ternary silage had 57.6 g kg-1 DM less neutral detergent fiber, 68.1 g kg-1 DM higher digestibility and higher metabolizable energy content and crude protein (P<0.05). The binary mixture was dominated by rye, a species with a high proportion of stem (74.4%), which influenced the quality parameters. The inclusion of triticale favored the quality of the ternary mixture, and in general, barley performed poorly. The ternary mixture of small-grain cereals did not show major agronomic benefits but did show quality benefits, making silage from this mixture a viable option for use in SSDS.


Highlands, Hordeum vulgare, Mexico, Secale cereale, small-scale dairy systems, Triticosecale Wittmack.

Full Text:



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.