FAQs: Forage

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Crimped feed can be used as part of the diet for pigs and poultry and can result in considerable feed cost reductions; contact us for more details. Horses requiring cereal as part of their diet will do well on crimped grain.

Walk into the crop, away from headlands and tramlines. In cereals crops first look at the colour of the straw immediately below the ears of grain, it should have turned yellow/straw coloured in the majority of plants. Next, pick off grain from the middle of the ear, (with wheat and triticale remove the chaff to reveal the grain, which should be a pale gold colour) and squash it between your forefinger and thumb. It should flatten, but no ‘milk’ or clear liquid should be visible. When 70% of the crop is at this stage it should be harvested and processed.

Pulses (peas, beans and lupins) should have a moisture content of about 30%. When the plants have died back and the pods have lost most of their green colour and split fairly easily. The grain should be chewy rather than hard and crunchy, and when split will have lost the bright green colour inside. Peas will be pale greyish/green, beans and lupins pale yellow. Again, if 70% of the crop has reached this stage harvest and process as soon as possible.

Combine harvesting maize is unlikely to be possible before early October in the UK. The crop is ready when all the plants have died back and lost virtually all their green colour. When this stage is reached carry out the following tests:-

  • Remove cobs from several parts of the field and strip them of all leaf and sheath.
  • Grip a cob firmly in both hands and counter-rotate the hands backwards and forwards. A soft rattling sound should be heard. Repeat this test on several cobs.
  • Next, break a cob in half and look for the ‘milk line’. This is the where the rich yellow of the grain on the outside changes to very pale yellow or white nearer the point where the grain attaches to the central spindle. The ‘milk line’ should be at least 2/3rds of the way in from the outside of the grain, and preferably should have disappeared altogether.

If in doubt consult your Kelvin Cave Ltd. representative or use our next day laboratory results service for more accurate DM values.

If you can make good grass silage you’ll have no trouble with crimped grain. Crimped grain can be stored in a conventional clamp or silo, or a special plastic tube bag filled by a Korte crimper/ bagger. ?Before harvesting prepare the clamp or bagging site. All areas that will come into contact with the grain should be thoroughly cleaned. Clamp walls should be lined with 1000 gauge silage sheeting. Sites for Korte bags should be clean, level and free from sharp stones etc. A clean water supply should be within easy reach of the crimper so that water can be added through the crimper to grain from parts of the crop that have got too dry. This will help to achieve good, consistent consolidation. ?1 tonne of crimped grain will occupy approximately 1 cubic metre. Crimp, adding CrimpSafe 300 at the recommended rate, and ensile within 24 hours of combining. Fill the clamp in thin layers using the Dorset Wedge method and rolling well to remove all air. If the top dries out during a break while filling, damp the dried surface with CrimpSafe 300 from a watering can fitted with a fine rose before adding fresh material. When all the grain has been processed and properly consolidated in the clamp, damp the surface again with CrimpSafe 300 and cover immediately with ClampFilmTM to ensure a completely airtight seal. With the ClampFilm™ in place, fold the side sheets over it and cover with a 500 gauge silage sheet. This should be well weighted down to exclude all air. Pay particular attention to the seal between the plastic and the concrete at the bottom of the ramp, loose sand or sand or gravel bags are the most effective weights at this point.

90 years ago scientists discovered that grain attains its highest nutrient level, DM yield and digestibility at this high moisture content. With conventional, dry harvesting nutrients, digestibility and yield have been lost.

Crimped grains are ideal concentrate feed for all classes of ruminant livestock from young calves and lambs to dairy cows, beef cattle and adult sheep. The inclusion of crimped grains in livestock rations can result in improved rumen stability, better feed conversion and superior animal performance when compared with feeding and processing dry grain. This leads to better economic performance in all classes of stock.

As an alternative to clamp storage, or, for Propcorn NC treated grain, where no dry storage area is available, Korte and Murska crimpers can be fitted to a specially designed bagging unit, which packs the grain into an airtight plastic tube.
Although 35% – 45% moisture is ideal grain can be crimped and ensiled at a moisture content as low as 25%. If the moisture level drops below this it is unlikely that complete consolidation and air exclusion in the clamp can be achieved. If grain moisture is below 25% it can still be crimped and ensiled, but a different preservative, CrimpSafe HiDry, should be used.
Alternatively, drier grain can be rolled and treated with Propcorn NC for aerobic storage in a suitable dry building.
As mentioned previously, independent trials have shown DM yield increases of up to 30%. Fresh weight yields are likely to be between one third and one half higher than those that would be expected if the crop were allowed to dry out prior to harvesting. So, for example, a crop expected to produce 3 tonnes of grain at 15% moisture is likely to produce in the region of 4.5 tonnes at 35% moisture.
Feeding moist, crimped grain results in a more gradual and efficient use of energy in the rumen, reducing the risk of acidosis. This allows higher levels of home grown cereals to be fed. It’s quite common to feed 7-10kg of crimped cereals in dairy diets and even more in beef diets.
A well proven method of processing and preserving any farm grown cereal or pulse grains at a high moisture content. The seed coat is cracked by passing the grain through a hopper fed crimping machine with dimpled or fluted rollers, exposing the starch and/or protein. The processed grain is ensiled to exclude air.
35% – 45% is the moisture content to aim for cereal grains. 30% – 35% moisture is ideal for pulses. Crops will normally be at this level three to four weeks before conventional harvest date. Maize grain should also be harvested (with a combine equipped with a special header) at 30% – 35% moisture, typically 3 or more weeks after the normal forage harvesting date.
By harvesting at the crimping stage grain losses from shedding, disease weather and bird damage are avoided. Independent trials have shown DM yield increases of up to 30%. Straw quality and yield are also improved. Earlier harvest allows timelier establishment of following crops, e.g. stubble turnips; grass reseeds etc. and improved land utilisation. Once crimped and ensiled no further processing is required, saving time and handling. Crimped grains are dust free, making them healthier for farmer and stock alike.
Firstly, unlike some biological products sold to treat crimped grain, CrimpSafe 300 is a unique blend of feed preservatives which destroy harmful microorganisms and promote  a very controlled, directed fermentation. This means that more of the valuable rumen nutrients (sugar, starch and protein) are retained resulting in better animal performance (Journal of Dairy Science vol.86 2003). CrimpSafe 300 is designed specifically for crimped grain preservation, to maximize nutrient retention and control aerobic deterioration.
CrimpSafe 300 treated grain is ready to feed 3-4 weeks after ensiling. Make sure that you maintain a clean cut face, and aim to move across the face every 5-7 days.
Feeding home grown crimped cereals is a simple and economic method of stock rearing. There is no winter rolling or processing (less work in the winter) and haulage costs are minimal. In the long term the improved nutrition from your own resources will give a more economic, dust-free and healthy diet – leading to healthier animals.
Wheat, Triticale, Barley and Oats, Maize grain, Peas, Beans and Lupins.
Korte are world leaders in roller mill development and manufacture. Established in 1972 this Finnish company is well known on the continent for designing robust and environmentally efficient agricultural machinery. A range of crimping/dry rolling machines has been specifically developed for UK conditions. With crimping outputs from 5 to 40+ tonnes per hour there is a machine to suit every situation. Our experienced staff will be pleased to discuss your particular requirements.

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