What is in this article?:
- Is triticale a future option for Southeast grain growers?
- Excellent energy source
- Good varieties available
• 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.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY Plant Breeder Paul Murphy shows triticale varieties at a recent field day.
Excellent energy source
Triticale is an excellent energy source and has a better amino acid profile than corn, wheat, and sorghum for poultry and swine rations. Therefore, triticale has potential as a superior energy source and protein supplement in animal rations.
It has been used on a small scale by livestock producers in the Southeast, and has been particularly popular with swine producers.
In addition to Paul Murphy’s program at North Carolina State, the University of Georgia and the University of Florida have done extensive research and varietal development.
Tests on two joint UGA and UF triticale varieties, Sunland and Florida 201 have shown that high quality triticale can replace corn in swine and poultry rations without significantly affecting performance of hogs, chickens or turkeys.
Arcia is a triticale variety released by Murphy’s breeding program in 2001. In a recent three-year test at Clemson University’s Sampson Research Farm, Arcia produced about 110 bushels per acre, with a test weight of 50 pounds per bushel, placing it among the top performing varieties in the multi-year test.
Triticale has been around for a century or so, says Murphy. It started when plant breeders sought to combine the natural disease, insect and stress resistance of rye with the baking and milling quality of wheat. So, triticale is an artificial species that is a combination of wheat and rye, Murphy explains.
“We started a triticale breeding program back in the 1990s to try and find a variety that was adaptable to North Carolina. Despite having a variety that is well suited to the region, there was little interest among growers to grow it. So, we phased out our breeding program,” Murphy says.
“Like starting up a breeding program, phasing one out takes time, and over a period of years we did develop Arcia and other varieties that we feel are well suited to production in North Carolina,” he adds.
Resource Seeds, which was recently sold to Syngenta, has developed a number of triticale varieties that grow well in the Upper Southeast.