Farmers are becoming more and more concerned about the state of the feed crops standing in the fields at the moment.

Farmers are becoming more and more concerned about the state of the feed crops standing in the fields at the moment.

In the south west, of the UK, just as the triticale and wheat have started to fully ripen and be suitable to harvest the warm wet weather has intervened to increase the moisture content to around 30% resulting in some crops starting to ‘sprout’. Triticale being the most susceptible followed by wheat.

Ian Gordon, of the Denis Brinicombe Group, who has walked fields this week and has seen a number of crops already starting to sprout, is advising farmers that the way to save the crop and maintain its feed value for the coming winter is to combine the crop and crimp the resulting grain.

“At thirty percent moisture it is possible to combine the sprouting corn and crimp it with a preservative to maintain its feeding value,” said Ian.

“The company has had 22 years experience in crimping grain, having been involved with the original import of the system from Finland and we see this year as being unique in the way that the grain is starting to sprout in the ear while the crop is still standing.

“In many cases the grain is nearly fit for harvesting but this damp warm weather has had the effect of bulking up the corn in the ear again so that it has started to sprout. Unless something is done in the very near future the feed value in the crop will deteriorate rapidly, drying will become virtually impossible and very costly and the feed value will be considerably reduced.

“In the past, there have been numerous farmers who, facing a field of lodged, sprouting corn have decided to put the combine in, get as much off the field as they can and crimp the grain. This has effectively salvaged a valuable on-farm feed. What is different this year is that the crops are still standing and combining will be so much easier with more grain being saved.

“Crimping is a very efficient process of preserving grain but farmers have to act quickly if they want to save these vulnerable crops for the coming winter,” Ian concluded.