Faba beans intercropped with spring wheat

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Whole crop silage – yield and feed value

Project coordinator: Lars Ericson, Department of Agricultural research for Northern Sweden, SLU.

Project group: Kerstin Ericsson, Värmland Rural Economy and Agricultural Society and Kjell Martinsson, Department of Agricultural research for Northern Sweden, SLU.

Interest in faba beans (Vicia faba L.) has increased in recent years in both conventional and organic cropping. Peas and faba beans are important in the creation of a sustainable plant growing system due to their nitrogen-fixing ability, not least in organic cropping. Peas can be affected by root rot if they occur too frequently in the crop rotation, so faba beans are an alternative.

Reaching full maturity of a faba bean crop can be a problem except in the most southerly parts of the country. The alternative is to harvest the beans as whole crop silage, preferably with cereal as an intercrop.

The aim of this research programme is to provide data on optimal harvest time for whole grain silage of cereal and faba beans. The project is also evaluating the feed value of the crop, its yield and its ensilability.

The major proportion of the project is being carried out in field trials situated in Värmland and Västerbotten. These trials are investigating four times of harvesting. In addition to yield, the feed value of the crop is being analysed. The proportions of leaves, stems and pods and the botanical stage of development of the crop are also being determined. The research programme also includes an ensiling study. The feed value of the crop, both at harvest and after ensiling, is being evaluated.