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\ .6-3O;tTZ Central Science !
DC O c 1987
Agricultural Research and Education Center
Research Report RC-1986-7 June 1986
ANNUAL RYEGRASS PRODUCTION: Ona AREC 1985-86
R. J. Stephenson, F. G. Martin, P. Mislevy and R. L. West-/
Annual or Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) is a bunchgrass
which is often seeded in Florida to provide good quality forage during the
winter and early spring months of January through April. Ryegrass is often
seeded alone or with other species of grasses, legumes, or cereals to provide
about 120 days of continuous grazing.
Ryegrass can be grown on a wide range of soil types, but if exceedingly
dry or the fertility level is poor, ryegrass may not be desirable. Ryegrass
can be planted alone, in a mixture with small grains and/or various
cool-season legumes or overseeded into perennial grass pastures. The most
common use here in Florida is to overseed warm-season perennial grass
pastures. Ryegrass seeded over these areas provides forage during the winter
months which is replaced in the spring by regrowth of the original warm-season
grasses. This provides forage during the winter months when little grass or
hay is normally available.
The seeding rate depends on its intended use. Ryegrass production in a
pure stand should be seeded anywhere from 15-20 lb seed/A. If grown with an
associated legume, 4-6 lb seed/A is satisfactory. For overseeding an existing
grass pastures, as little as 8 lb seed/A up to 20 pounds of seed should be
As with all grasses, applying N fertilizer leads to more rapid growth and
increase of forage. Phosphorus and potassium should be applied prior to
seeding followed by N fertilizer when the ryegrass seedlings are a few inches
New varieties are continually being released by private industry and
universities. These new releases are then evaluated in variety trials to
enable growers to make decisions on the variety of ryegrass which may fit
Ryegrass varieties seeded at the Ona Agricultural Research and Education
Center (AREC) consisted of commercially available varieties and experimental.
Ryegrass was seeded on a clean tilled Ona fine sand November 19, 1985.
Experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications.
/ Assistant Professor, Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC)
Ona; Professor, Department of Statistics, Gainesville; Professor, AREC-
Ona; Laboratory Technitian III, AREC-Ona.
Prior to seeding 500 Ib/A of 0-10-20 (N-P ,0-K20) + 20 ib/A TEM 300
fertilizer was applied and disced into the soil. Nitrogen (34-0-0) was
applied at a rate of 60 lbs N/A 10 days after seedling emergence, followed by
30 lbs N/A after each harvest.
All entries were irrigated with an over-head system applying a total of
three inches of water, one inch on three separate occasions to help seedling
All entries were drilled in six inch rows at a depth of 1/2 3/4 inch.
Seeding rate was 20 Ib/A.
Entries were harvested four times with a rotary plot harvester to a
stubble height of three inches. The initial harvest was made 73 days after
seeding and subsequently on a monthly basis through April.
Results and Discussion
There were no significant differences among varieties for any of the four
harvests or for total yields. The bulk of the forage were recorded at
harvests 2-4 with 28, 40 and 24 percent of the total yield respectively (Table
1). Forage yields at the first harvest were reduced because of dry
conditions. Also, ryegrass yields are normally lower than other annual
forages early in the season. After the first harvest the plants tillered
profusely, precipitation increased and consequently growth increased.
Seasonal distribution of dry matter yields were somewhat bell-shaped.
Forage yields increased with each harvest and peaked at harvest 3 before
declining and would have been minimal if a fifth harvest had been made (Table
1). The high yields at harvest 3 were due to heading of most varieties during
late March or harvest 3. At the fourth harvest average daily temperature,
daylength and precipitation were not condusive to. forage growth, thus the drop
Crown rust (Puccinia spp.) was observed March 31 on Funks 'Marshall' and
Fla. Seed and Feeds 'Tetrogold' ryegrass varieties. Each variety had
approximately 75% of the total vegetation infected with rust. After making
the third harvest the amount of rust at harvest 4 was insignificant ( 5%
infected). Other varieties were never infected with rust.
In order to determine the superiority of a variety, performance testing
must be conducted for at least 3 years. Table 2 shows forage yields of
several varieties. Differences among varieties were minimal.
Results of the 1985-86 ryegrass variety trial showed no significant
differences in yield among varieties. Of the varieties tested Florida 80 had
the greatest total forage yield and has performed well in previous variety
W Table 1. Dry matter forage production of ryegrass varieties at AREC-Ona,
Brand Variety 1/31 2/31 3/31 5/1 Total
Pioneer Fla 80 .4 .9 1.7 .8 3.8
Funks Marshall .3 1.0 1.4 .8 3.5
NK* Tetrablend .3 .9 1.4 .9 3.5
Fla 1985 LR Selectl .3 1.0 1.3 .8 3.4
Haile Dean Green Gold 2 .3 .9 1.4 .7 3.3
Fla Seed & Feed Tetrogold .3 1.0 1.1 .9 3.3
Fla 1985 LRt .2 .9 1.2 .9 3.2
Haile Dean Green Gold 1 .2 .9 1.3 .8 3.2
Average .3(8%) .9(35%)1.3(40%).8(24%)
No significant differences existed among varieties for individual harvests or
total yields at the 0.5% level of probability according to Duncan's Multiple
Experimental entry, seed not available.
SNK Northrup King.
5Values in parenthesis represent percentage of total seasonal yield at that
Table 2. Ryegrass dry matter forage production from selected varieties grown
at AREC-Ona, 1982-86.
Brand Variety 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 Avg.
Funks Marshall 3.6 1.4 2.5 1.9 3.5 2.6
NK' Tetrablend 3.2 3.5 3.4
Pioneer Fla 80 3.6 1.8 2.5 2.1 3.8 2.8
Pioneer Shannon 2.7 1.6 2.3 1.6 2.0
Gulf Annual 2.8 1.9 2.3 2.2 2.3
Average 3.2 1.7 2.4 2.0 3.6 2.6
Entry not seeded that year.
tNK Northrup King.