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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
-7--. NOV 04 1987
Agricultural Research and Education Center University of Florida
Research Report RC-1987-3 August 1987
ANNUAL RYEGRASS PRODUCTION: ONA AREC 1986-87
R. J. Stephenson and F. G. Martin-
Annual or Italian ryegrass (Lotium 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 cereal grains to
provide about 120 days of 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. 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.
Seeding rate depends on seedbed preparation, seed mix, etc. 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 Ib up to 20 pounds of
seed could be used.
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
high. Be sure adequate sulphur and micronutrients are available, and the pH
should be 5.5-6.5.
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 and experimental varieties.
Ryegrass was seeded on a clean tilled Ona fine sand November 17, 1986.
Experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications.
Assistant Professor, Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC)
Ona; Professor, Department of Statistics, Gainesville.
Prior to seeding, 42 and 84 Ib/A of P 0 and K 0 were applied and disced
into the soil. At 12 days post emergence 60 lb of nitrogen was applied,
followed by 30 Ib N/A after each harvest.
All entries were drilled in six inch rows at a depth of 1/2 3/4 inch.
Seeding rate was 20 lb/A.
Entries were harvested three times with a rotary plot harvester to a
stubble height of three inches. Initial harvest was made 67 days after
seeding, January 23; subsequent harvest were made on February 23 and April 4,
Results and Discussion
Only for harvest 1 were there significant differences among varieties
(Table 1). 'Magnolia' and 'Gulf' were the highest yielding varieties
averaging 0.29 and 0.26 t/A respectively. These two entries produced
significantly more forage early in the season. Forage yields at the first
harvest averaged 10 percent of the total yield and were low due to dry
conditions. Yields nearly doubled at harvest 2. The bulk of the forage was
recorded at the third harvest with an average 76 percent of the total yield.
Ryegrass production normally increases as the season progresses due to
tillering. Yields continually increase until May when production tapers off
because of unfavorable high temperatures, long daylength and limited
precipitation. Precipitation from November through May was six inches below
normal, with the exception of March. This along with weed problems prevented
a fourth harvest. Often small grains which produce considerable forage early
in the winter are seeded with ryegrass to produce forage throughout the winter
Crown rust (Puccinia spp.) was observed in late March on 'Florida 80'
ryegrass, but only on two replications. Other varieties were never infected
with rust. Rust can actually reduce forage yield if severe enough, although
most varieties are rust resistant.
In order to determine the superiority of a variety, performance testing
should be conducted for at least 3 years. Table 2 shows forage yields of some
commercially available varieties. Differences among varieties were minimal.
Results of the 1986-87 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
trials (Table 2).
Table 1. Dry matter forage production of ryegrass at AREC-Ona, 1986-87.
Brand Variety 1/23 2/23 4/4 Total
Pioneer Fla 80 .15 c .23 a 1.99 a 2.37 a
Forbs Seed Magnolia .29 a .26 a 1.60 a 2.16 a
wnd Gran W- .18 be .28 a 1.66 a 2.12 a
TK Tx .14 c .30 a 1.65 a 2.10 a
NK Tx, T T .19 bc .37 a 1.52 a 2.08 a
Fla AES Fla 1986 .15 c .29 a 1.53 a 1.98 a
Gulf Annual .26 ab .32 a 1.19 a 1.77 a
Average .19 (10Z) .29 (14%) 1.59 (76%) 2.08
Means within a column followed by the same letters) are not significantly
different at the 0.01 level of probability according to Duncan's Multiple
NK, Northrup King; Fla AES, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
*Experimental entry not commercially available.
Values in parenthesis represent percentage of total seasonal yield at that
Table 2. Ryegrass dry matter forage production from selected varieties grown
at AREC-Ona, 1984-87.
Brand Variety 1984 1985 1986 1987 Avg
-- --t/A----- -=
Pioneer Fla 80 2.5 2.1 3.8 2.4 2.7
NKt Tetrablend 3.5 3.5
Funks Marshall 2.5' 1.9 3.5 2.6
Gulf Annual 2.3 2.2 1.8 2.1
Entry not seeded that year.
tNK Northrup King.