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Knowledge Nuggets
  • Yellowfeed is when an annual cereal crop is sprayed with glyphosate and allowed to stand until dry. Once dry, it can be cut, baled and used as feed. It is basically a bleached version of greenfeed.
  • Significantly lower losses from weathering is the main benefit of yellowfeed because it is left standing to dry, instead of laying the crop on the ground in windrows,
  • The crop drys faster since air easily moves through it when standing than on the ground in windrows.
  • Once the crop has dried, you can choose when to harvest it. You can cut it with a swather instead of a haybine, and cut and bale in a single day.
  • A haybine should not be used to cut yellowfeed as it could dislodge some of the heads and leaves, lowering overall forage quality.
  • Spraying the crop with glyphosate also controls perennial weeds.
  • On average, there will be a small increase in yield of 10-15% after the glyphosate has been applied. This is because the crop continues to grow for a few days until the herbicide takes effect.
  • In trials, the protein content of oat and barley yellowfeed crops did decline slightly after spraying. This decline ranged from 0.9-3.3%.
  • On average, the total digestible nutrients (TDN or energy content) remained constant.
  • Producers using yellowfeed have reported that their cattle find it very palatable and even prefer it to greenfeed.
  • Spray your crop 5 days before you would normally cut it for greenfeed as the plants will keep growing for a few days after spraying until the herbicide takes effect. Oats should be sprayed in the milk stage and barley in the soft dough stage.
  • In ideal conditions, a rate of 1.0 L/ac of glyphosate can be sprayed. In wetter weather, spray at a rate of 1.25-1.5 L/ac.
  • It can take anywhere from 12 days under good drying conditions to up to 30 or more days in wet weather for the crop to dry.
  • Barley seems to dry 4-7 days sooner than oats. It also stands up well after spraying. If left standing too long, though, the heads can start to curl towards the ground.
  • Oats tends to lay down more than barley, but the plants will be 12-18 inches off the ground. This should not interfere with cutting.
  • Yellowfeed can also be a system used in early seeded crops for swath grazing. Glyphosate will stop plant growth of the crop when desired. The crop can then stand for 3 weeks of more before swathing. Having the crop dry standing instead of in windrows reduces its vulnerability to summer and fall rains and maintains its quality. This also takes advantage of the higher yield potential of an earlier seeded swath grazing crop.
  • There are some problems associated with yellowfeed such as access to a high-clearance sprayer, the cost of the herbicide and no regrowth for fall grazing.
Fact Sheets

Yellowfeed - Frequently Asked Questions

Yellowfeed Production in Saskatchewan

Research Papers
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This information published to the web on April 19, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on April 26, 2018.

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