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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
^7~hi t^ ~TUBRAH
Agricultural Research Center JUL 1 978 *
SResearch Report RC-1977-8 j 0 Sept mber 1977
1.F.A.S.- Univ. of Florida
RYEGRASS FORAGE PRODUCTION AT ONA AND IMMOKALEE: 1976-77
R. S. Kalmbacher, P. Mislevy, P. H. Everett
K. M- Veigh and G. Prine-
Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) is of economic importance during
the cooler winter months of south-central Florida. Ryegrass, seeded alone or
in a perennial grass sod, provides high quality forage which is quick to estab-
lish. Cultivated areas seeded to pure stands of ryegrass can be grazed within
2 months after seeding, and grazing may extend for 120 days. Ryegrass responds
well to nitrogen fertilization, which leads to more rapid growth, higher crude
protein, lower crude fiber, and improved digestibility.
Since new ryegrass varieties are continually being released from public
and private sources it is important that these varieties be tested under south-
central Florida conditions. In this investigation several ryegrass varieties
were evaluated for dry matter yield seasonal forage distribution, disease
resistance, and persistence at the Ona and Immokalee Agricultural Research
Eleven ryegrass varieties were seeded at the Ona Agricultural Research
Center (ARC) and eight were seeded at the Immokalee ARC. The field plot layout
consisted of 4 replications of a randomized complete block design. An additional
9 experimental ryegrass varieties and one field bromegrass (Bromus species) were
evaluated in an unreplicated trial at Immokalee.
Ryegrasses were sown on November 11, 1976 at the Ona ARC, and November 18,
1976.at the Immokalee ARC. An additional plot of 'Gulf' ryegrass was sown on
January 7, 1977 to determine the effect on total yield. Seeding rates were 20
lb/A at both locations. Prior to seeding, plots at Ona were fertilized with
550 lb/A of 0-10-29,analysis fertilizer. At Immokalee 630 Ib/A of 0-10-20 plus
25 lb/A of FTE 503= was applied. Fifty pounds of nitrogen (N) was applied 13
days after seeding at Ona and 15 days after seeding at Immokalee.
1/ Assistant and Associate Professors, Ona, ARC; Professor, Immokalee, ARC;
Assistant Professor, Quincy, AREC; Professor, Department of Agronomy,
2/ FTE 503 = 18.0% Iron; 7.0% Zinc; 7.5% Manganese; 3.0% Copper; 3.0% Boron;
The experiment at Ona received 17.7 inches of water applied with an over-head
irrigation system. Of the total water applied on the Ona study only 8.6 inches
was required for the first 5 harvests (April 14). An additional 9.1 inches of
water was applied from April 14 to May 23. At Immokalee seepage irrigation was
available, but due to unusual rainfall the experiment was not watered during
the entire 140 days of the experiment.
Ryegrasses were harvested times at Ona and 5 times at Immokalee. The
initial and subsequent harvests were made when the grass attained 9-12". The
initial harvest at Ona occurred 41 days after seeding, and at Immokalee first
harvest was 47 days after seeding. Subsequent harvests were made at 21 to 30
Results and Discussion
Total dry matter yield of ryegrass grown at Ona (Table 1) ranged from a
high of 4.83 T/A for 'Asso' to a low of 4.11 T/A produced by Van der Have
'HV 102'. The difference between the high and low total dry matter yield after
7 harvests was only 0.72 T/A.
Harvest 1 was removed on December 22, 1976 41 days after seeding, and averaged
a height of 8.2 inches (Table 2). Yields at the initial harvest were low, aver-
aging only 0.2 T/A, with 'Asso' being the highest. At harvest 2, dry matter yields
averaged about 0.5 T/A with 'Gulf' contributing the highest yield. 'Gulf' again
produced the highest yield (0.75 T/A) at harvest 3. This yield was produced in
spite of a low temperature of 19 F on January 19. This freeze had no measurable
effect on any ryegrass entry tested at Ona. On March 14 harvest 4 was removed
with the'Florida experimental 1976 B' producing the highest yield (1.17 T/A).
Average plant height for all entries at this harvest was 16.0 inches (Table 2).
Yields continued to increase until mid-April as indicated by the 1.48 T/A
produced by 'Asso' in harvest 5 (Table 1). One reason for higher dry matter yields
and higher dry matter percentage (19.2) was due to the physiological stage of
maturity. Many of the ryegrass entries including 'Asso' had headed by the time
of the mid-April harvest. All ryegrass entries with the exception 'NAPB R0029'
were full of rust (Puccinia spp.) at the time of harvest 5.
Generally, after the April harvest ryegrass died, however, in 1977 all
entries continued to produce forage until June 15 (Harvest 7). 'Tetralite'
(Lolium hybridum) produced the highest yield at harvest 6 (0.85 T/A) and harvest
7 (0.28 T/A). At harvest 6 rust was quite prevalent on some varieties and practi-
cally non-existant on others (Table 2). Varieties with very little rust were
'Asso', 'Fla. 1976 B', 'Tetrablend 444', 'Tetralite', 'Gulf', 'Fla. 1976 S',
'NAPB R0018', while 'IV 102' and 'Meritra' contained the highest percentage of
rust. The morphological leaf characteristic of the two Fla. experimental entries,
may be partially responsible for the low incidence of rust. Regardless of
plant height the leaf blade tips remain in a vertical position, which may allow
for a faster moisture evaporation within the award and less rust.
At Immokalee ARC total dry matter yield averaged 2.33 T/A, and there were
no significant differences in total yield among the 8 ryegrass varieties grown
in the replicated trial, (Table 3). Total yields ranged from 2.49 tons per
acre with the entry 'Asso', to 2.17 produced by 'Tetralite'. At harvest 1
'Asso' and 'Billion' were significantly higher in production with 0.34 and 0.28
T/A of dry matter, respectively. At harvest 2 'Asso', 'Billion' and 'Meritra'
were higher producing with 0.48, 0.44 and 0.46 T/A, respectively. The third
harvest was the last harvest where significant yield differences occurred. Then
'Asso', 'Billion', 'Gulf' and 'Charleston Annual' were higher with 0.57, 0.55
0.59 and 0.55 T/A of dry matter produced, respectively.
Distribution of forage throughout the season was not uniform. Dry matter
yield reached a peak at harvest 4 (March 11) when the 8 varieties averaged
0.73 T/A (Table 3). After mid-March ryegrass entries started to die out due
to maturity, warm weather and drought. Percent dry matter after the March 11
harvest jumped to 40,3 at the fifth and final harvest.
All ryegrass entries at Immokalee were remarkably disease free during the
1976-77 season. All entries remained essentially vegetative until mid-April.
The January 7 seeded 'Gulf' ryegrass yielded a :otalofl.26 T/A after only 3
harvests. The 2-18; 3-11; and 4-7 harvests averaged 0.22, 0.73, 0.31 T/A,
respectively. Ranchers or dairymen experiencing a cool, wet winter may decide
to take advantage of these unusual conditions by making late seedings of ryegrass.
This is not recommended, as ryegrass will still require the 40-50 days for
establishment and will still die out at the same time (mid-April) due to
unfavorable spring conditions.
The yields from the 10 unreplicated ryegrass varieties and Bromus entry
were comparable with those from the replicated trial. However, since they
were unreplicated, no statistical comparisons can be made. Total yield
averaged 2.04 T/A (Table 4). Two higher yielding varieties were 'Tetrone 444'
and 'Furore 2X', each producing 2.55 and 2.37 T/A, respectively. Again, forage
production was distributed unevenly during the growing season, and yields reached
a peak at an average 0.66 T/A at harvest 4 (March 11).
Morphologically the Bromus species (SCS F6390) was more similar
to a small grain than a ryegrass. At the February 18 harvest its apical meristem
had elevated 2-3 inches above the soil surface. At this time it was producing
abundant tillers which added substantially to the increase in yield at the
subsequent March 11 harvest.
Significant differences were observed among the 11 ryegrass entries
tested at Ona. Total seasonal dry matter yield ranged from a high of 4.83 T/A
for 'Asso' to a low of 4.11 T/A for 'HV 102'. These data indicate that only
0.72 T/A separate the highest from the lowest yield over 7 harvests.
However, one point to consider when selecting ryegrass varieties, is the
high rust content (10%) found on 'Meritra', 'R0029', 'Billion' and 'HV 102'
at harvest 6.
There were no significant differences in total dry matter yield of 8
ryegrass varieties grown at Immokalee ARC. Significance did exist among several
entries at harvest 1, 2 and 3.
Several experimental entries placed in an unreplicated experiment appear
to have some adaptability and may warrant further research.
Good quality, high yielding ryegrass forage can be produced at Ona and
Immokalee with proper irrigation, fertilization and management.
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- North American
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