x Tritocosecale Wittm. ex. A. Camus

Field of triticale

Triticale is an interspecific hybrid between wheat and rye. It is used primarily for winter pasture, but can be used as silage or hay. Most of the production is in the western states, grown for green-chop and silage. The southern states grow winter types which are grazed in the fall. In the Midwest there is some interest in using triticale as a forage crop. Triticale, cut slightly before boot stage, makes the best silage similar to other small grains, but dry matter yields are higher at later maturity stages. Triticale growth habit is similar to wheat and rye. Environmental requirements for winter triticale are similar to other fall-planted small grain crops and for spring triticale the requirements are similar to spring planted oats, barley, and wheat.

Soil Improvement (Green manure)

Species Selection Characteristics

Soil pH Tolerance: 
Strongly acid, 5.1–7.3
Moderately acid, 5.6–7.3
Moderately acid to moderately alkaline, 5.6–8.4
Slightly acid to moderately alkaline, 6.1–8.4
Near neutral, 6.1–7.3
Soil Drainage Tolerance: 
moderately well drained
well drained
Flooding Tolerance: 
3-6 days
Soil Salinity Tolerance: 
Moderately tolerant, 3–6 dS/m

Identification Characteristics

Growth Season: 
Identification Characteristics: 

Triticale is a bunch-type grass with upright tillers. Morphology is similar to wheat and rye. 

Growth Habit and Stand Life

Habit: Upright bunchgrass


Life Cycle: 
Winter annual

Climate and Soil Suitability Zones

Climate Tolerances: 

Seedlings survive above 17 °F (-8 °C). Susceptible to damage by hot, dry weather that occurs during reproduction. Overall, grows best under cool, dry conditions, but can withstand hot, dry or cold and wet weather.

Soil Tolerances: 

pH: Tolerates strongly acidic to moderately alkaline soils (5.1- 8.4).

Drainage: WD-MWD

Salinity: Moderately tolerant, 3-6 dS/m

Suitability Maps

Suitability patterns for forage species are caused by different factors in different locations. Low winter temperatures limit the northern range of many species, while low precipitation limits the western range of species in the semi-arid west. Low summer temperatures limit the range of species with increasing elevation while high summer temperatures limit the range in the desert southwest and hot and humid southeast. Soil characteristics (pH, drainage, and salinity) also limit the suitability zones of forage species. However, soil amendments (liming and drainage tiles) can alleviate many of these limitations. Thus, NRCS Soil Survey data should be informed and revised by management mitigations.

Nine maps have been developed; 1) 30-year long-term July maximum temperature 2), 3) 30-year long-term annual precipitation, 4) soil pH, 5) soil drainage, 6) soil salinity, 7) combined climate factors, 8) combined soil factors, and 9) combined climate and soil factors.


Both spring and winter cultivar types are available. Spring and winter cultivars are both especially suited as a forage due to their high possible yield. Climatic conditions and preferred seeding time should be considered when selecting cultivar types.

Management Level Required

Suitable Management Level: 

Quality and Antiquality Factors

Quality Factors: 

Triticale forage has similar nutritional value to other small grain cereal forages and annual ryegrass. Field reports indicate no drop in milk production when dairy cows are switched from a corn silage-based total mixed ration to a triticale silage-based total mixed ration.

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