Crimped grain in bales
- Harvest 3 weeks earlier
- Increase harvest yield by 20-25%
- Crimp using a mechanical crimper
- Storage and transport in bales
What and how
The most popular crops to crimp are Wheat, Barley, Rye, Maize from the combine harvester, all suitable for packing in round bales. All the crops when harvested have to be processed through a roller mill or crimper with a preservative added to ensure stability.
The seed coat must also be split before being ensiled. If the seed coat is not split, the bacteria in the cow's stomach will not be able to break down the outer seed coat. The crimped grain will need to be ensiled in either a bunker, Agbag, or round baled in a compactor. The latter has proven to provide best conservation of the forage quality.
The increases in yield explained:
In the UK they are able to grow around 4 tons of wheat per acre when the fully mature wheat is harvested at around 15% moisture. For Crimping the grain needs to be taken approx 3 weeks earlier than normal harvesting. At this point the straw will be starting to change from green to the golden colour we are all used to see during autumn.
The crop is ready when the node just beneath the ears changes from green to white. When this node starts to change colour no more goodness can pass through it to feed the grain. At this point the grain will start to use its own energy to create its own protective seed coat of lignin (wood) which is indigestible fibre.
At its nutritional best
Around this time the seeds start to change internally from a milky white liquid to a soft cheese consistency. This is when its best to harvest as this is the moment when the crop is at its nutritional best: easy for the animals to digest, with the seed coat also digestible at this time.
Keep the energy
The increases in yield come due to the early harvesting, before the individual grains use their own energy to create the seed coat that would normally protect them when fully mature.
The known increase is appr. 25% by taking the crop at this point. The increase is less in Barley around 20%.
Crimped grain has been a well known method for many years, with proven benefits. However, the logistics of the small grain has been a challenge. The Orkel Compactors are now adapted to bale crimped grain. This gives great conservation and easy storage and transport.