Triticale grows well in the Carolinas and on into Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland. Its biggest holdback isn’t agronomics, its economics.

Unlike other grain crops grown in the Southeast, there is no federal crop insurance option for triticale production. Without it, veteran North Carolina State Small Grain Specialist Randy Weisz says increasing triticale acreage will be difficult.

North Carolina-based grain buyer Murphy Brown rejuvenated some interest in triticale this past year when they upped the ante on pushing for more locally grown grain to feed poultry and swine in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The big question from Murphy Brown was: Can we grow it? The answer is clearly yes from an agronomic point of view.

North Carolina State University Plant Breeder Paul Murphy has developed a number of varieties over the past few years that are well suited to production in North Carolina and surrounding states.

He says, “Triticale acreage in North Carolina is small at present, but we are convinced that this species has potential for the state's small grain producers.”

“We have observed in our breeding nurseries that triticale has high levels of disease and insect resistance and drought tolerance. Its grain has a high quality protein that makes it suitable for hog and poultry feed, and many cultivars produce abundant leafy growth in late winter and early spring with potential for grazing or silage production.”