The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Agricultural Research Center
Research Report RC-1983-5 September 1983
RYEGRASS FORAGE PRODUCTION AT ONA: 1982-83
P. Mislevy, F. G. Martin and G. M. Prine
Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) can be important during
the cool winter months in south-central Florida as a source of very high
quality grazing. Ryegrass, seeded alone after a vegetable crop, used in a
pasture renovation program or in a perennial grass sod, can provide high
quality forage which is quick to establish. Cultivated areas seeded to pure
stands of ryegrass can be grazed within 2 months after seeding and grazing may
extend for 120 days or more. Ryegrass responds well to nitro e ilization,
which leads to more rapid growth, higher crud 5F p
Since new ryegrass varieties are continue ly bet5 t^LeS4 d from public
and private sources, it is important that vari ties be tested under
south-central Florida conditions. In this inv stigation sevejaflaqi ass
varieties were evaluated for dry matter yield, 4.as1 al~ ds*ution,
disease resistance, and persistence at the Ona u tural Research Center.
Six ryegrass varieties were seeded at the Ona Agricultural Research
Center (ARC), on November 22, 1982. The field plot layout consisted of
four replications of a randomized complete block design.
Seeding rates for all ryegrass varieties were 20 lb/A. Prior to
seeding, plots were fertilized with 525 lb/A of 0-10-20 (N-P205-K20),
respectively, and after seedling emergence with 86 Ib/A of N in two
applications. After each harvest an average of 32 lb/A of N was
applied. The experiment also received 8.0 inches of water from an
overhead irrigation system.
All entries were harvested five times with rotary harvesters which
cut plants to a 3 inch'stubble. Each harvest was made when the grass
attained a height of about 8-14 inches depending on variety. The
initial harvest was made 74 days after seeding. Rust was monitored on
each variety during the spring.
1/ Professor, Agricultural Research Center (ARC), Ona; Associate
Professor, Department of Statistics, Gainesville; Professor,
Department of Agronomy, Gainesville, Florida.
Results and Discussion
Significant differences in total dry matter yield were observed between
ryegrass entries grown during the 1982-83 cool season (Table 1). Average total
seasonal yield was 1.6 t/A. This yield was the lowest obtained in 11 years of
ryegrass testing at the ARC, Ona. Following emergence plants developed crowns
consisting of many tillers but adequate (9") top growth did not develop until
plants were about 74 days old. In' fact, twice (86 Ib/A N) the normal rate of
nitrogen was applied prior to removal of the initial harvest. Further testing
to determine the cause of poor ryegrass performance revealed nematodes (stubby
root and spiral) were present in good feeding populations but not high enough
to seriously reduce dry matter yields. Plant and soil combinations were also
tested for diseases, which confirmed the present of Pythium spp and Rhizoctonia
spp both of which can be destructive during cool-wet conditions. However,
plant sampling did not clearly reveal the poor dry matter yields obtained
during January and February. Personal communications with plant pathologists
indicate that continuous cropping of grasses on the same land areas will result
in a Pythium buildup unless broadleaves are seeded into the cropping sequence.
Ryegrass varieties that were among the higher yielders were "Gulf" (1.9
t/A), "Pioneer Fla 80" (1.8t/A) and "Pioneer Experimental #5M5F" (1.7 t/A).
Even though these three entries are not significantly higher in dry matter
yield than "Marshall" and "LM 213", yields differ little from the practical
Following the initial harvest of February 4, 1983, all successive harvests
were removed at an average time interval of 26 days, terminating on May 18.
Highest dry matter yields were produced during the second (3-4-83) and fourth
(4-29-83) harvests when they averaged 0.5 t/A. These two harvests yielded
nearly 60% of the total seasonal yield.
Crown rust (Puccinia spp) was a problem on ryegrass in 1983 first being
observed on March 4 and continuing into May (Table 2). Marshall appeared to be
the most severely infested averaging 60% plant cover on April 13, followed by
Shannon (40%), and LM 213 (20%). On April 26 the percentage of plant covered
with rust was 73, 68 and 25%, respectively, with Gulf and Fla 80 containing
very little rust (5%). Caution should be exercised by commercial growers,
contractors, and the D.O.T. not to use rust susceptible varieties to prevent a
rust buildup in epiphytotic proportions. Crown rust in the spring of 1983 was
very serious on annual ryegrass throughout the state of Florida. This high
rust population may be due to the release and use of several rust susceptible
To determine the true performance of a ryegrass variety, testing must be
conducted over a period of at least 3 years. Yields of ryegrass entries grown
at the ARC, Ona over a 3 to 6 year period, averaged 3.1 t/A dry matter (Table
3). Two varieties, Pioneer Fla 80 and Gulf have consistently produced high
yields in addition to exhibiting considerable rust tolerance.
Results indicated little practical difference between ryegrass varieties
tested in 1982-83. However, Gulf and Pioneer Fla 80 were among the top
yielders and have consistently demonstrated good rust tolerance.
Table 1. Ryegrass forage production: Ona ARC, 1982-83.
1 2 3 4 5 Total
Brand Variety 2-4 3-4 3-29 4-29 5-18
----------Dry matter yield t/A----------
* Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at
the 0.05 level of probability according to Duncan's Multiple Range
t Mom = Mommersteeg International of Holland, through Peterson Forage
Seed Division of Pioneer Hi-bred International Inc.
Date seeded: November 22, 1982
Seeding rate: 20 Ib/A (drilled in 6" rows)
525 lb/A 0-10-20 N-P205-K20, preplant.
86 lb/A N prior to first harvest in 2 applications.
32 lb/A N after each harvest.
Irrigation: Overhead, with 8.0 inches applied in 8 applications from
November through May.
Table 2. Rust (Puccinia spp)
the spring of 1983.
found on ryegrass during
Brand Variety 4-13 4-26
Percentage plant cover
Funks Marshall 60 73
Pioneer Shannon 40 68
Momt LM 213 20 25
Pioneer Exp.#5MSF 1 8
Pioneer Fla. 80 1 5
Gulf 1 5
t Mom = Mommersteeg International of Holland, seed
distributed through Peterson Forage Seed Division
of Pioneer Hi-bred Internation Inc.
Table 3. Ryegrass forage production from selected varieties grown at the ARC
Brand Variety 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 Avg.
----------------Dry matter yield t/A----------------
NAPB Sunbelt t t 3.5 3.3 3.0 t 3.3
Funks Marshall t 4.0 3.5 3.4 3.6 1.4 3.2
NK + Tetrablend
444 t t 3.5 3.0 3.2 t 3.2
Pioneer Fla. 80 2.9 3.8 3.7 2.9 3.6 1.8 3.1
Gulf 3.0 3.7 3.5 3.2 2.8 1.9 3.0
NAPB Meritra t t 3.1 2.9 3.1 t 3.0
Avg. 3.0 3.8 3.5 3.1 3.2 1.7 3.1
t Entry not seeded that year.
* NAPB = North American Plant Breeders; NK Northrup King.