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Annual ryegrass is a very popular cover crop in parts of the Midwest. It is fast establishing, provides excellent weed suppression, can be grazed, and can help reduce nematode populations. There are three annual ryegrasses we recommend for cover crops:
Contact us for more information on how you can purchase these varieties.
There are many method’s used to plant Annual Ryegrass for a cover crop. The most common would be no-till drilling following harvest. This is probably the most dependable way to seed any annual ryegrass. There are some limitations to drilling. Timing is the biggest factor. If the previous crop is late coming off there might not be time in the fall to get good growth. This has led to other methods being used such as aerial seeding. Aerial seeding is a good option for seeding a lot of acres in a short amount of time. Seed should be applied before leaf drop. The seed will germinate, even in the shade, if enough moisture is provided. Other options include broadcasting then harrowing, slurry seeding and dormant seeding.
Seeding Rate: Plant Annual Ryegrass between 12-20lbs per acre if using a drill. When broadcasting or seeding late (October) increase that to 20-25lbs per acre to ensure good stand development. An increase to 25-30lbs per acre is recommended if aerial seeding or dormant seeding.
Management is key when using annual ryegrass as a cover crop. If possible spray any winter annuals present at seeding time. Fall nitrogen is also beneficial for fall growth. It is important to remember not to let the annual ryegrass head out. This will prevent it from becoming a weed. Remember timing is critical for spring burndown. Annual Ryegrass is easily controlled using proper management. Killing before joint stage is very important. Occasionally a second burndown application will be needed to ensure a good kill.
Coated annual ryegrass is also an option to consider, especially for aerial seeding. The coating improves ballistics, better seed-to-soil contact, and increases moisture wicking of the seed. Coated seed can help ensure a more even germination over the whole field. Read the Advantages of Coated Grasses and Legume Seed for Cover Crops to learn why coating and proper inoculation can help ensure successful cover cropping.
Oregon Grown Annual Ryegrass - An extensive site showing the benefits of using annual ryegrass for cover cropping. Full of helpful resources on how to establish and use annual ryegrass in a cover crop situation as well.9 Things to Know About Annual Ryegrass - A quick list that No-till Farmer magazine put on their website. *Note the #3 item was "Select a winter-hardy variety."
|Passerel + (2yrs)||20.4|
|*varieties statistically equal at lsd of 0.05|
|complete trial results|
|Variety||2006 Stand||2007 Stand||2008 Stand||3-yr Mean|
|*varieties statistically equal at lsd of .05|
|complete trial results|