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^ -^ Agricultural Research Center
. Research Report RC-1980-7 September 1980
RYEGRASS FORAGE PRODUCTION AT ONA AND IP4KALEE: 1979-80
R.S. Kalmbacher, P. Mislevy, P.H. Everett, F.G. Martin
and G.M. Prine1/
Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorun Lam.) is of economic
importance during the cooler winter months in south-central Florida.
Ryegrass, seeded alone 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 nitrogen fertilization, which leads to more rapid growth, higher
crude protein and improved digestibility.
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 and Inmkalee
Agricultural Research Centers.
Eight ryegrass varieties were seeded at th bAY c rea -ch
Center (ARC) and seven were seeded at the Inrnk lee ARML 1ie cfjeld plo
layout consisted of four replications of a ran anized, complete block
design. In addition two tall fescue (Festuca d oed fip pjg
reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)and Tyfon (a cross between rape
and chinese cabbage) were evaluated at Ona. An oat-ryegrass mixture
was evaluated at the Immokalee ARC.
Ryegrass was sown on November 14, 1979 at the Ona ARC, and
November 19 at the Immokalee ARC. Seeding rates at both locations for
1/ Associate Professors, Agricultural Research Center (ARC) Ona;
Professor, Irnokalee, ARC; Associate Professor, Department of Statistics
Gainesville; Professor, Department of Agronomy, Gainesville, Florida.
ryegrass was 20 Ib/A, 12 Ib/A for tall fescue, 10 Ib/A for reed 9
canarygrass, 6 Ib/A for Tyfon and 50 and 10 Ib/A, respectively, for
the oat and ryegrass mixture. Prior to seeding, plots at Ona were
fertilized with 475 lb/A of 0-10-20 N-P205-K20 fertilizer, respectively,
and after seedling emergence 60 Ib/A of N was applied. At Immokalee
45 lb/A of N plus 500 lb/A of 0-10-20 fertilizer were disked into
the seedbed. After harvest 1 and 3, 400 lb/A of 12-6-6 was applied.
At Ona an average of 40 lb/A of N was applied after each harvest.
The experiment at Ona received 5.0 inches of water applied with
an overhead irrigation system. At Inmkalee a seepage irrigation system
with laterals on 40 ft centers was used.
All entries except Tyfon, were harvest five times at Ona and six
times at Imnokalee with rotary plot harvesters which cut plants to a
3 inch stubble. Tyfon was harvested at a 4" stubble. Each harvest was
made when the grass attained a height of 9 to 21 inches. The initial
harvest at Ona and Imnokalee were 56 and 52 days after seeding, respectively*
Results and Discussion
Significant differences in total dry matter yield (ranging from
3.7 to 2.4 T/A) were obtained among the ryegrasses and other cool season
forages grown during the 1979-80 winter season (Table 1). Highest dry
matter yields were obtained from Fla. Reseeding (3.7 T/A); "Mississippi A.E.S."
'Marshall', 'Gulf', Northrup King 'Tetrablend 444', and NAPB 'Sunbelt'
(3.5 T/A). Most ryegrass produced from 0.6 to 0.9 T/A dry matter 56 days
(harvest 1) after seeding. Dry matter yields then ranged about 0.8 T/A
for the next three mid-winter harvests, followed by a 50 to 75%
decreased by mid-May. Scme entries (NAPB '150', NAPB 'Meritra', Sunbelt
and NK '7-20') remained in the vegetative stage until plants died, and
even though their total yields were 0.4 to 0.7 T/A lower, than higher
yielding entries which flowered, more digestible nutrients may be
obtained by cattle due to their lack of flower stems. The two
tall fescue entries AF-5 and AF-6, both of which are experimental
from Auburn University, produced good yields, however, they established
slowly and yielded only 0.2 and 0.1 T/A, respectively, at harvest 1.
Like the ryegrass entries, mid-winter yields were good, averaging
Reed canarygrass 'AP-2' an experimental fran Auburn, was the
lowest yielding grass entry, averaging 2.4 T/A. One reason for this low
yield may be slow establishment as indicated by the 0.1 T/A at
harvest 1. Dry matter yields increased in harvest 2,3, and 4 but
decreased again by mid-May.
Even though the results for the two tall fescue entries and reed
canarygrass represent a single year's testing, these data indicate that
these species are not as good as ryegrass in south-central Florida.
The growth period for both tall fescue and reed canarygrass did not
appear to be much longer than that of the better ryegrass entries.
Tyfon was the lowest yielding entry tested in this study averaging
1.9 T/A dry matter. This plant which is a member of the mustard
family, establishes rapidly attaining a height of 18 inches in 56 days.
Plants were harvested 4 times (Table 1) during the cool season averaging
0.5 T/A/harvest which contained only leaves. This yield was 0.2
to 0.5 tons/A/harvest lower than the better yielding ryegrasses.
Tyfon should not be clipped or grazed close to the soil since the root
trends to enlarge above the soil surface. Close defoliation can remove
the growing point, thus kill the plants.
The percentage dry matter of Tyfon was very low averaging 6 to
8%. These values are about 4 to 8 percentage units lower than ryegrass
which ranged from 12 to 167 dry matter.
These data indicate that cattle grazing Tyfon may be limited in
dry matter intake because of the high percentage of water found in
Rust (Puccinia spp.) was first observed in early April on
two entries, Marshall and Meritra. However, by mid-May all varieties
except the tall fescues and reed canarygrass contained rust which was
rated as follows: Gulf and Fla. Reseeding (< 10%), NAPB 150 (257%),
NK 7-20 (32%), Sunbelt (35%), NK Tetrablend 444 (42%) NAPB Meritra
(50%), and Marshall (80%).
Ranchers should be careful when utilizing variety testing results
obtained during one growing season because of differences in temperature
rainfall, soil, disease, etc. that occur from year to year. Data in
Table 2 represents a 3 to 5 year average of five selected ryegrasses
which have performed well at Ona, producing an average of 3.5 T/A total
The seven ryegrass entries tested averaged 2.7 T/A of dry matter,
and there were significant differences among entries (Table 3). Two
higher yielding entries were NAPB Meritra and Marshall ryegrasses,
which each averaged 2.9 T/A.
The oat-ryegrass mixture in 1980 was considerably lower in yield
when compared to other pure ryegrass entries. The advantage of this
mixture is that the very early 70-Q-1153 oat produces high yields
initially, and then the Gulf ryegrass produces good late season yields.
In each of the past five years, the oat-ryegrass mixture had been
significantly higher in yield than any pure stand of small grain, and
the mixture was equal or better (depending on the year) when compared
to yields of pure ryegrass. The reason for the poor yields of the
mixture in 1980 was due to low yields of both the oat and ryegrass
component. The 70-Q-1153 oat did not develop a good stand which provided
high early season yield, nor did' the Gulf ryegrass produce as it normally
did. Gulf was the lowest yielding entry (2.3 T/A) in the 1980 trial.
All pure ryegrass entries were in the vegetative stage until
harvest 5 (April3) when Fla Reseeding ryegrass was estimated to have
42% of the plants in the reproductive state. At harvest 5 Gulf
averaged 137% of its plants in the reproductive stage, while all
other entries were vegetative. At last harvest (April 28) all entries
were producing seed heads except NK-K7-20, Sunbelt and Marshall.
These entries were entirely vegetative.
Rust (Puccinia spp) first appeared at harvest 5 (April 3) when
Marshall had the greatest infestation. Plots of this entry ranged in
rating from 5 to 40% infestation and averaged 18%. Small amounts of
rust were also observed on Gulf and Meritra. At the last harvest all
entries had some rust, but Marshall was the most infested.
Based on the results of several years testing, several ryegrass
entries appear to be well adapted for the Immokalee area (Table 4).
There are no practical yield differences among the five entries listed
in Table 4 as most fall on the average yield of 2.4 T/A. Therefore,
cost per pound of pure-live seed perhaps is the best criterion for
These results indicate little practical difference in yield between
the ryegrass entries. Fla Reseeding, Marshall, Gulf, NK Tetrablend 444
and NAPB Sunbelt all produced well at Ona. Test results indicate that
dry matter yields of ryegrass are consistently higher than small grains
grown in central Florida and require less grazing management.
There were significant differences in the yields of the seven
ryegrass entries tested, and yield ranged from 2.3 to 2.9 T/A and
averaged 2.7 T/A. Test results for the past five years have indicated
that there are little practical differences in the yields of well
managed ryegrass entries. Gulf, NAPB Asso, Magnolia, Billion and NK
Tetrablend 444 have been good yielding entries in the Immokalee area
and cost per pound of pure-live seed may be one of the best criterion
for selecting a ryegrass variety.
Table 1. Ryegrass and other cool season forages produced at the Ona ARC.
1 2 3 4 5
Entry. 1-9 1-30 2-29 4-10 5-16 Total
-------dry matter yield tons/acre--------------
Fla. Reseeding 0.9 0.7 0.8 0.9 0.4 3.7 a
Marshall 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.2 3.5 ab
Gulf 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.8 0.4 3.5 ab
NK. Tetrablend 444 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.2 3.5 ab
NAPB Sunbelt 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.8 0.2 3.5 ab
Tall fescue AF-5 0.2 0.7 0.8 1.0 0.5 3.3 b
NAPBT 150 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.3 3.2 b
NK K7-20 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.3 3.1 b
Tall fescue AF-6 0.1 0.6 0.7 1.1 0.5 3.1 b
NAPB Meritra 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.2 3.1 b
Reed canarygrass AP-2 0.1 0.7 0.5 0.8 0.3 3.0 c
Average h- 0.7 0. 0- 0.3 37
Tyfon 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.5 --- 1.9 d
t Means followed by the same
letter are not significantly different (DLSD,
SNAPB is North American Plant Breeders, NK is Northrup King.
Tyfon is a cross between rape and chinese cabbage.
Date seeded: November 14, 1979.
Seeding rate: ryegrass, 20 Ib/A; tall fescue, 12 Ib/A; reed canarygrass,
Fertilization: At seeding 475 Ib/A of 0-10-20 (N-P205-K20, respectively)
and 50 Ib/A of N after seedling emergence. After harvest 1,2,3, and 4
an average of 50 lb/A of N was applied.
Irrigation: overhead, 5.0 inches applied.
Table 2. Forage production from selected ryegrass varieties: 1976-80.
Entry 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 Average
--------------Dry matter yield tons/acre---------
NAPB Asso t 4.3 2.8 3.8 t 3.6
Billion t 4.3 2.8 3.3 t 3.5
Fla. Reseeding 2.7 4.7 2.9 3.8 3.7 3.6
Gulf 2.9 3.4 3.0 3.7 3.5 3.3
NKT Tetrablend 444 2.7 4.4 t t 3.5 3.5
Average 8 4Z7 29 37 3 6 3
t entry not seeded.
T NAPB is North American Plant Breeders; NK is Northrup King.
Table 3. Ryegrass forage production at the Immokalee ARC: 1979-80.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Entry 1-10-80 1-31-80 2-21-80 3-13-80 4-3-80 4-28-80 Total
----------------Dry matter tons/acre---------------------
Mississippi AES Marshall
NKT Tetrablend 444
Fl 70Q1153 oats +
t Means followed by the same letter are not
T NAPB is North American Plant Breeders, NK
Date seeded: November 19, 1979.
significantly different (DLSD, K=100).
is Northrup King.
Ryegrass, 20 Ib/A; oat-ryegrass mixture, 50 lb/A and 10 lb/A,
Fertilization: At seeding 500 Ib/A of 0-10-20 (N-P205-K20, respectively). with
45 Ib/A of N after harvest 1 and 3, 400 Ib/A of 12-6-6, and after harvest 2,4,5
an average of 65 Ib/A of N was applied.
Irrigation: seepage with laterals on 40 foot centers.
Table 4. Forage production from selected ryegrass varieties grown
at the Immokalee ARC: 1976-1980.
Entry 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 Average
Gulf 2.6 2.4 2.5 2.3 2.3 2.4
NAPBT Asso t 2.5 2.2 2.6 t 2.4
Magnolia 2.3 2.4 t t t 2.4
Billion t 2.5 2.2 2.4 t 2.4
NKI Tetrablend 444 2.5 2.2 t t 2.8 2.5
Average 2.5 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.4
t entry not seeded
SNAPB is North American Plant Breeders, NK is Northrup King.