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Forage Identification and Use Guide

Ryegrass, Perennial

Lolium perenne

Perennial ryegrass leaves vary from narrow and fine (like bluegrass) to broad and coarse like tall fescue. In all cases, leaves have a very waxy or shiny appearance. Perennial ryegrass has a distinct purpling at the base of the stem.

Perennial ryegrass leaves are flattened in the bud, in contrast to annual ryegrass leaves, which come out rolled. By comparison, annual ryegrass heads typically have more florets per flower and usually have awns (fine hairs extending from the ends of each seed), while perennial ryegrass has fewer florets and doesn't have awns.

Shiny, dark green, annual bunchgrass with smooth leaves. Grows 2 to 4 feet tall in seed head stage.

Fall and winter pasture, hay, erosion control.

High nutritive quality and palatability, excellent seedling vigor, reseeds itself easily, tolerates close grazing.

Not always winter-hardy. Low quality after heading. Can be overly competitive in mixtures. Reseeds prolifically and can be a troublesome weed in crop fields.

Rate: 20-30 lb/a
Depth: ¼-½ in
Date: Aug 15-Oct 1

First harvest: Apr 20-May 15
Annual yield: 1-3 tons dry matter/a

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