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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
6 Central Science
Agricultural Research and Education Center OCT 231987
Research Report RC-1985-3 University of FlOri&tober 1985
RYEGRASS FORAGE PRODUCTION AT ONA: 1984-85
P. Mislevy, A. J. Overman, 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 high quality
forage. Ryegrass seeded 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. Well fertilized ryegrass with adequate moisture can carry about
3-3.5 yearling animals per acre. Ryegrass responds well to nitrogen
fertilization, which leads to more rapid growth, higher crude protein and
Since new ryegrass varieties are continually being released from public
and private sources, it is important that 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 Agricultural Research and Education
Seven ryegrass varieties were seeded at the Ona AREC, on November 16,
1984. Field plot layout consisted of four replications in a randomized
complete block design.
Seeding rates for all ryegrass varieties were 20 lb/A. Prior to
seeding, plots were fertilized with 450 lb/A of 0-10-20 (N-P205-K20),
respectively, and after seedling emergence with 60 lb/A of N. An additional
35 lb/A N was applied after each harvest. Soil calcium and magnesium levels
were adequate with an average pH of 5.5. The experiment received 4.1 inches
of water from an overhead irrigation system.
All entries were harvested four times with rotary harvesters to a 3 inch
stubble. Each harvest was made when the grass attained a height of about 6.
to 12 inches depending on variety. The initial harvest was made 69 days
after seeding. Rust was monitored on each variety during the spring.
1/ Professor, Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC), Ona;
Professor, Nemtology, AREC, Bradenton; Professor, Department of
Statistics, Gainesville; Professor, Department of Agronomy, Gainesville,
Following the establishment of ryegrass varieties in both 1983-84 and
1984-85 the entire area was sampled several times during the growing season
Results and Discussion
Significant differences (P<0.05) in total dry matter yield were obtained
between ryegrass varieties during the 1985 cool season (Table 1). Total
seasonal yields ranged from a high of 2.2 t/A for annual 'Gulf' and 'Haile
Dean Green Gold 3', to a low of 1.6 t/A for 'Pioneer Shannon'. Initial
harvest was delayed by about 30 days in 1985 due to inadequate forage growth.
This was mainly due to a severe drought, coupled with a major breakdown in
the irrigation system. Rainfall during the month of December 1984 and
January 1985 was 70 and 39% below normal, respectively. Therefore, initial
harvest was not only delayed but yields were reduced.
Seasonal distribution of dry matter over harvests was quite uniform
averaging 20% of the total yield for harvest 1, 2 and 4, respectively.
Yields were doubled for harvest 3 basically due to the heading of all
ryegrass plants during mid to late March.
Crown rust (Puccinia spp.) was observed as early as March 25 on Pioneer
Shannon and 'Funks Marshall' ryegrass varieties. At the time of the April 25
harvest these varieties had 80 and 84%, of the total vegetation covered with
rust. The remaining 5 varieties averaged 7.5% rust, with 'Pioneer Florida
80' averaging 4%.
Nematode samples taken from the experimental area, over two growing
seasons indicated stubby root (Trichodorus minor) and spiral
(Helichotylenchus pseudorobustus) were the major nematode populations present
in ryegrass. The stubby root populations tended to remain stable during the
growth of ryegrass over 2 successive seasons. However, the spiral nematode
population was increasing from year to year, which indicated that ryegrass
may be a host to spiral nematodes but not stubby root.
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 AREC Ona over a 3 to 7 year period averaged 2.8 t/A dry matter
(Table 2). Most varieties listed in table 2 consistently produced high
yields, with Florida 80 and Gulf producing well over the 7 year period.
Marshall was also a good yielder, but was consistently infected with crown
rust in late March and April.
Results from 1984-85 indicated little practical differences between
ryegrass varieties tested at Ona. Gulf annual and Pioneer Florida 80 were
among the better yielders and have consistently demonstrated good rust
Dry matter yields of ryegrass entries grown at the AREC, Ona 1984-85.
Harvest number and date
1 2 3 4 Total
Brand Variety 1-24 2-25 3-25 4-25 yield
Gulf Annual 0.5 a 0.5 a 0.7 bc 0.5 a 2.2 a
Haile Dean Green Gold 3 0.5 a 0.5 a 0.8 b 0.4 a 2.2 a
Pioneer Fla 80 0.4 ab 0.4 ab 1.0 a 0.3 b 2.1 ab
Fla Exp. Stn. X 1984 LRt 0.5 a 0.4 ab 0.7 bc 0.4 a 2.0 bc
Funks Marshall 0.5 a 0.4 ab 0.7 bc 0.3 b 1.9 cd
Haile Dean Green Gold 2 0.3 bc 0.4 ab 0.8 b 0.4 a 1.9 cd
Pioneer Shannon 0.3 bc 0.4 ab 0.7 bc 0.2 c 1.6 d
Average 0.4 0.4 0.8 0.4 2.0
Percentage of total yield 20% 20% 40% 20%
Means followed by the same letters are not significantly different at the
0.05 level of probability according to Duncan's Multiple Range Test.
tFlorida Experiment Station, experimental.
Date seeded: November 16, 1984
Seeding rate: 20 lb/A
Fertilization: At seeding 450 lb/A 0-10-20, N-P O2-K20
: After seedling emergence 60 Ib/A N.
: After each harvest applied 35 lb/A N.
Irrigation: Overhead sprinkler system applied a total of 4.1 inches in 3
applications. Due to irrigation problems, no water was applied
for the first 83 days after seeding.
Table 2. Ryegrass forage production from selected varieties grown at the
AREC Ona, 1979 to 1985.
Brand Variety 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 Avg.
---------- Dry matter yield t/A--------
NAPB* Sunbelt t 3.5 3.3 3.0 t t t 3.3
Funks Marshall 4.0 3.5 3.4 3.6 1.4 2.5 1.9 2.9
NK Tetrablend 444 t 3.5 3.0 3.2 t t t 3.2
Pioneer Fla 80 3.8 3.7 2.9 3.6 1.8 2.5 2.1 2.9
Gulf Annual 3.7 3.5 3.2 2.8 1.9 2.3 2.2 2.8
NAPB Meritra t 3.1 2.9 3.1 t t t 3.0
Pioneer Shannon t t 2.9 2.7 1.6 2.3 1.6 2.2
Avg. 3.8 3.5 3.1 3.1 1.7 2.4 2.0 2.8
Entry not seeded that year.
*NAPB = North American Plant Breeders; NK = Northrup King.