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PR-477

2002 Annual and Perennial Ryegrass Report

R.F. Spitaleri, J.C. Henning, G.D. Lacefield, and P.B. Burris

Introduction

Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) are high-quality, productive cool-season grasses used in Kentucky. Both have exceptionally high seedling vigor and are highly palatable to livestock.

Annual ryegrasses are increasing in use across Kentucky as more winter-hardy varieties are released and promoted. Annual ryegrass is used primarily for extra fall, winter, and early spring pasture. Winter growth occurs only during mild winters.

Perennial ryegrass can be used as a short-lived hay or pasture plant and has growth characteristics similar to tall fescue.

This report provides current yield data on annual and perennial ryegrass varieties in trials in Kentucky as well as guidelines for selecting varieties.

Important Considerations in
Selecting a Ryegrass Variety

Local Adaptation and Seasonal Yield. The variety should be adapted to Kentucky as indicated by good winter survival and good performance across years and locations in replicated yield trials such as those presented in this publication. Choose high-yielding varieties, but choose varieties that are productive during the desired season of use.

Annual ryegrass, also called Italian ryegrass, is planted in the fall and makes most of its growth from late February through June. In years when fall temperatures remain mild and ryegrass is planted in early September, there can also be substantial forage in October and November. Varieties differ in winter-hardiness, but this trait is undefined for many of the varieties in this trial. The winter of 2001-2002 was mild, and no varieties in this trial suffered winterkill. These results are no guarantee of future winter productivity or survival.

Perennial ryegrass is more winter-hardy and persistent than annual ryegrass (two- to three-year stand life) but less so than other cool-season grasses like tall fescue or orchardgrass. Hot, dry summers stress perennial ryegrass more than cold winters.

Seed Quality. Buy high-quality seed that is high in germination and purity and free from weed seed. Buy certified seed or proprietary seed of an improved variety. An improved variety is one that has performed well in independent trials. Other information on the label will include the test date, which must be within the previous nine months, the level of germination, and a listing of other crop and weed seed. Order seed well in advance of planting time to assure that it will be available when needed.

Important: When seeding perennial ryegrasses for horse pasture (of any kind), insist on an endophyte-free variety of perennial ryegrass. The endophyte level will be stated on a green tag on every bag of seed. Most forage types of perennial ryegrass are endophyte free, and most new turf types are infected. This endophyte is similar to the endophyte of tall fescue (which affects pregnant mares) but is different in its effect on horses. All horses grazing endophyte-infected perennial ryegrass may develop a neurological condition known as ryegrass staggers. In addition, infected perennial ryegrass may also produce ergot-type alkaloids like those in infected tall fescue.

Description of the Tests

Data from five studies are reported. In the fall of 2000 and 2001, an annual ryegrass test was established at Bowling Green and Lexington, respectively. A perennial ryegrass test was established in the fall of 2000 (Bowling Green and Princeton) and in the fall of 2001 (Lexington). The soils at Lexington, Bowling Green, and Princeton are well-drained silt loams (Maury, Pembroke, and Crider, respectively) and are well suited for ryegrass production.

Seedings were made at the rate of 20 lb/A into a prepared seedbed with a disk drill. Plots were 5 ft x 15 ft in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Nitrogen was topdressed at 60 lb/A of actual N in March and after each additional cutting. The tests were harvested using a sickle-type forage plot harvester. The first cutting was harvested at each location when all ryegrass varieties had reached at least the boot stage. Fresh weight samples were taken at each harvest to calculate dry matter production. Management practices for these tests regarding establishment, fertility, weed control, and harvest timing were in accordance with University of Kentucky recommendations.

Results and Discussion

Weather data for 2002 in Lexington, Bowling Green, and Princeton are presented in Table 1. After a wet spring, Kentucky experienced the fourth hottest and driest summer on record.

Ratings for maturity and dry matter yields (tons/acre) are reported in Tables 2 through 6. Yields are given by cutting date and as total annual production. Varieties are listed by total yield in descending order. Experimental varieties, listed separately at the bottom of the tables, are not available commercially.

Some annual ryegrass varieties planted in 2000 at Bowling Green continued to grow into 2002 (Table 2). They were rated for percent stand but not harvested for yield since weeds had invaded the weak stands. In most years, annual ryegrasses can be expected to die or become unproductive after mid-June in their first summer.

Several varieties in the new planting of annual ryegrass (Lexington) were extremely productive during the wet spring of 2002.

The perennial ryegrass tests contained several festuloliums that are hybrids of meadow fescue and perennial ryegrass, having some of the characteristics of both. Unlike annual ryegrasses, perennials should be productive under Kentucky conditions for two or more growing seasons.

Statistical analyses were performed on all data (including experimentals) to determine if the apparent differences are truly due to varietal differences or just due to chance. In the tables, varieties not significantly different from the top variety in the column for that characteristic are marked with one asterisk (*). To determine if two varieties are truly different, compare the difference between them to the LSD (Least Significant Difference) at the bottom of the column. If the difference is equal to or greater than the LSD, the varieties are truly different when grown under the conditions at the given locations. The Coefficient of Variation (CV) is a measure of the variability of the data and is included for each column of means. Low variability is desirable, and increased variability within a study results in higher CVs and larger LSDs.

Tables 7 and 8 summarize information about distributors and yield performance for all varieties currently included in tests discussed in this report. Varieties are listed in alphabetical order by species, with the experimental varieties at the bottom. Remember that experimental varieties are not available for farm use, while commercial varieties can be purchased from agricultural distributors. In Tables 7 and 8, a single asterisk (*) means that the variety was not significantly different from the top variety. It is best to choose a variety that has performed well over several years and locations. Remember to consider the relative spring maturity and the distribution of yield across the growing season when evaluating productivity of ryegrass varieties (Tables 2 through 6).

Summary

Selecting a good variety of annual or perennial ryegrass is an important first step in establishing a productive stand of grass. Proper management, beginning with seedbed preparation and continuing throughout the life of the stand, is necessary for even the highest-yielding variety to produce to its genetic potential.

Mention or display of a trademark, proprietary product, or firm in text or figures does not constitute an endorsement and does not imply approval to the exclusion of other suitable products or firms.

 

Table 1. Temperature and rainfall at Bowling Green, Lexington, and Princeton, Kentucky, in 2002.

 

Bowling Green

Lexington

Princeton

Temp

Rainfall

Temp

Rainfall

Temp

Rainfall

ºF

DEP

IN

DEP

ºF

DEP

IN

DEP

ºF

DEP

IN

DEP

JAN

40

+6

3.70

-0.12

38

+7

2.12

-0.74

41

+7

3.79

-0.01

FEB

39

+1

0.91

-3.22

38

+3

1.28

-1.93

42

+4

2.40

-2.03

MAR

47

+1

7.60

+2.50

45

+1

7.93

+3.53

49

+2

8.18

+3.24

APR

60

+3

7.30

+2.98

58

+3

4.19

+0.31

63

+4

5.72

+0.92

MAY

64

-2

5.56

+0.62

61

-3

4.36

-0.11

66

-1

9.04

+4.08

JUN

76

+1

1.20

-2.97

74

+2

2.45

-1.21

77

+2

1.88

-1.97

JUL

80

+2

3.57

-1.17

78

+2

1.10

-3.90

81

+3

2.13

-2.16

AUG

80

+3

5.10

+1.59

77

+2

0.95

-2.98

80

+3

2.06

-1.95

SEP

75

+5

9.46

+5.74

72

+4

4.90

+1.70

74

+3

5.90

+2.57

OCT

62

+4

5.24

+2.22

55

-2

5.61

+3.04

59

0

6.12

+3.07

NOV

48

+2

5.00

+0.57

43

-2

3.76

+0.37

47

0

2.49

-2.14

AVG

61

+2.3

4.97

+0.80

58.1

+1.6

3.51

-0.18

61.7

+2.5

4.52

+0.33

Dep is departure from the long-term average for that location.

 

Table 2. Dry matter yields (tons/acre) and maturity ratings for annual ryegrass varieties sown September 22, 2000, at Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Variety

Type

2001 Harvests

Total

2001

% Stand
May 27, 2002

Apr 6

Apr 27

Jun 11

Jul 24

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Zorro

tetraploid

1.18

1.46

0.82

0.41

3.46*

59*

Marshall

tetraploid

1.32

1.46

0.56

0.05

3.34*

38

Big Daddy

tetraploid

1.19

1.29

0.58

0.04

3.05

10

Rio

tetraploid

1.21

1.33

0.45

0.06

3.00

13

Fantastic

diploid

1.35

1.07

0.42

0.03

2.85

6

Common

diploid

1.15

1.20

0.44

0.02

2.79

4

Gulf

diploid

1.10

1.01

0.43

0.03

2.53

2

Spark

tetraploid

1.01

0.90

0.52

0.10

2.43

20

Experimental Varieties — Not Available for Farm Use

Florlina

diploid

1.27

1.35

0.43

0.04

3.05

5

CIS Florida 4N

tetraploid

1.07

1.26

0.57

0.07

2.89

13

 

Mean

 

1.18

1.23

0.52

0.09

3.02

17

CV, %

 

13.4

7.37

21.9

67.22

8.95

57.13

LSD, 0.05

 

0.23

0.13

0.17

0.08

0.39

13.95

*

Not significantly different from the highest numerical value in the column, based on the 0.05 LSD.

 

Table 3. Dry matter yields (tons/acre) of annual ryegrass varieties planted September 7, 2001, at Lexington, Kentucky.

Variety

Type

Seedling Vigor1
Nov 2, 2001

Harvest
Nov 23, 2001

Maturity2
May 1,
2002

2002 Harvests

Total
2002

2-Yr
Total

May 1

Jun 4

Jul 17

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Zorro

tetraploid

4

0.95

47

2.29

2.42

0.77

5.48

6.43*

Jeanne

tetraploid

5

1.10

47

2.17

2.31

0.70

5.19

6.29*

Aurelia

tetraploid

5

1.16

43

1.86

2.32

0.72

4.90

6.06*

Andy

tetraploid

4

1.11

44

1.72

2.03

0.44

4.19

5.30

Feast II

tetraploid

4

1.13

42

1.38

1.79

0.68

3.85

4.98

King

diploid

4

0.97

55

1.83

1.69

0.17

3.69

4.66

Feast

tetraploid

4

0.73

44

1.37

1.92

0.54

3.83

4.56

Winterstar

tetraploid

4

0.87

48

1.25

1.78

0.50

3.54

4.41

Big Daddy

tetraploid

4

1.17

55

1.35

1.63

0.19

3.17

4.35

Gulf

diploid

3

0.65

55

1.44

1.48

0.08

3.01

3.65

Experimental Varieties — Not Available for Farm Use

Monarque

tetraploid

4

1.02

45

1.87

2.00

0.53

4.40

5.43

 

Mean

 

4

0.99

48

1.69

1.94

0.49

4.11

5.10

CV, %

 

23.53

48.99

8.93

12.42

8.27

21.05

6.01

9.84

LSD, 0.05

 

1.31

0.7

6.14

0.3

0.23

0.15

0.36

0.73

*

Not significantly different from the highest numerical value in the column, based on the 0.05 LSD.

1

Based on 0 to 5 scale with 5 being the most vigorous.

2

Maturity rating scale: 37 = flag leaf emergence, 45 = boot swollen, 50 = beginning of inflorescence emergence, 58 = complete emergence of inflorescence, 62 = beginning of pollen shedding.

 

Table 4. Dry matter yield (tons/acre) and maturity ratings of perennial ryegrass and festulolium (FL) varieties sown on September 22, 2000, at Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Variety

Type

Total

2001

Maturity1|
May 27, 2002

2002 Harvests

Total
2002

2-Yr
Total

May 27

Jun 21

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Polly II

tetraploid

5.41

65

2.66

0.31

2.97

8.39*

Bestfor

tetraploid

5.05

66

2.67

0.33

3.00

8.06*

Duo (FL)

tetraploid

4.88

63

2.78

0.12

2.9

7.78*

Bandit

tetraploid

4.82

62

2.77

0.09

2.86

7.69*

Spring Green (FL)

 

4.47

62

2.72

0.19

2.91

7.38*

Anaconda

tetraploid

4.49

66

2.31

0.13

2.43

6.92*

Citadel

tetraploid

4.39

57

2.38

0.13

2.51

6.91

Mara

diploid

3.38

55

2.22

0.16

2.38

5.75

Linn

diploid

2.87

65

2.14

0.14

2.28

5.15

Derby

diploid

2.81

64

2.07

0.07

2.13

4.95

 

Mean

 

4.26

62

2.47

0.17

2.64

6.9

CV, %

 

16.78

3.06

14.86

25.11

13.5

14.8

LSD, 0.05

 

1.04

2.76

0.53

0.06

0.52

1.48

*

Not significantly different from the highest numerical value in the column, based on the 0.05 LSD.

1

Maturity rating scale: 37 = flag leaf emergence, 45 = boot swollen, 50 = beginning of inflorescence emergence, 58 = complete emergence of inflorescence, 62 = beginning of pollen shedding.

 

Table 5. Dry matter yields (tons/acre) and maturity ratings of perennial ryegrass and festulolium (FL) varieties sown on September 21, 2000, at Princeton, Kentucky.

Variety

Type

Total
2001

Maturity1
May 30, 2002

2002 Harvest

Total
2002

2-Yr
Total

May 30

Jul 8

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Bestfor

tetraploid

6.83

70

2.87

0.89

3.76

10.59*

Polly II

tetraploid

6.53

68

2.97

0.78

3.76

10.29*

Boxer

tetraploid

6.25

69

3.33

0.33

3.67

9.92*

Bandit

tetraploid

6.12

67

3.39

0.38

3.77

9.89*

Spring Green (FL)

 

6.18

67

3.17

0.40

3.57

9.75*

Duo (FL)

tetraploid

6.25

68

3.23

0.22

3.45

9.70*

Anaconda

tetraploid

6.12

74

2.42

0.30

2.72

8.84

Citadel

tetraploid

5.82

66

2.70

0.24

2.95

8.77

Yatsyn

diploid

5.42

70

2.61

0.27

2.88

8.30

Linn

diploid

5.20

68

2.60

0.29

2.89

8.09

 

Mean

 

6.07

69

2.93

0.41

3.34

9.41

CV, %

 

7.48

3.42

12.04

37.36

13.24

6.78

LSD, 0.05

 

0.66

3.40

0.51

0.22

0.64

0.93

*

Not significantly different from the highest value in the column based on the 0.05 LSD.

1

Maturity rating scale: 37 = flag leaf emergence, 45 = boot swollen, 50 = beginning of inflorescence emergence, 58 = complete emergence of inflorescence, 62 = beginning of pollen shedding.

 

Table 6. Dry matter yields (tons/acre) of perennial ryegrass and festulolium (FL) varieties sown September 7, 2001, at Lexington, Kentucky.

Variety

Type

Seedling Vigor1
Nov 2, 2001

2002 Harvests

Total 2002

Apr 26

Jun 4

Jul 17

Nov 8

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Barfest (FL)

 

3

2.18

2.73

0.67

1.04

5.57*

Grand Daddy

tetraploid

3

1.80

2.53

0.83

1.02

5.17*

Lasso

diploid

2

0.96

2.49

0.69

0.84

4.14

CAS-MP 64

diploid

4

1.50

1.94

0.64

0.76

4.08

Linn

diploid

4

1.74

1.78

0.55

0.82

4.07

Quartet

tetraploid

3

0.92

2.23

0.82

0.90

3.97

Aries

diploid

4

1.18

2.12

0.65

0.69

3.95

Maverick Gold

diploid

5

0.81

2.10

0.46

0.11

3.37

Experimental Varieties — Not Available for Farm Use

CAS-EP66

diploid

3

1.84

1.75

0.60

0.90

4.20

PP 11

blend

5

0.79

2.28

0.64

0.40

3.71

 

Mean

 

4

1.37

2.20

0.66

0.75

4.22

CV,%

 

15.21

24.19

11.36

23.12

12.51

10.91

LSD, 0.05

 

0.80

0.48

0.36

0.22

0.14

0.67

*

Not significantly different from the highest value in the column based on the 0.05 LSD.

1

Based on 0 to 5 scale with 5 being the most vigorous.

 

Table 7. Performance of annual ryegrass varieties across years and locations.

 

Bowling Green

Lexington

20001

2001

Variety

Proprietor/KY Distributor

20012

2002

2002

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Andy

DLF-Jenks

 

 

 

Aurelia

Forage Genetics International

 

 

*

Big Daddy

Smith Seed Services/FFR/Southern States Cooperative

 

 

 

Common

Public

 

 

 

Fantastic

Ampac Seed Company/Bunton Seed

 

 

 

Feast

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

Feast II

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

Gulf

public

 

 

 

Jeanne

DLF-Jenks

 

 

*

King

Lewis Seed Company

 

 

 

Marshall

The Wax Company

*

 

 

Rio

 

 

 

 

Spark

DLF-Jenks

 

 

 

Winterstar

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

Zorro

DLF-Jenks

*

* 3

*

Experimental Varieties — Not Available for Farm Use

CIS Florida 4N

Cebeco International Seeds

 

 

 

Florlina

Proseeds Marketing, Inc.

 

 

 

Monarque

Forage Genetics International

 

 

 

*

Highest yielding variety in the test.

1

Establishment year.

2

Harvest year.

3

Represents top variety in percent stand. No harvests were taken in 2002 due to weed invasion.

 

Table 8. Performance of perennial ryegrass and festulolium (FL) varieties across years and locations.

 

Bowling Green

Princeton

Lexington

20001

2000

2001

Variety

Proprietor/KY Distributor

20012

2002

2001

2002

2002

Commercial Varieties — Available for Farm Use

Anaconda

Landmark Seed Co./Caudill Seed

*

*

 

 

 

Aries

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

 

 

Bandit

Grassland West Company

*

*

 

*

 

Barfest (FL)

Barenbrug USA

 

 

 

 

*

Bestfor

Improved Forages

*

*

*

*

 

Boxer

AgriBioTech

 

 

*

*

 

CAS-MP64

Cascade International Seed

 

 

 

 

 

Citadel

Ag Canada

*

 

 

 

 

Derby

Public

 

 

 

 

 

Duo (FL)

Ampac Seed Company

*

*

*

*

 

Grand Daddy

Smith Seed Services

 

 

 

 

*

Lasso

DLF-Jenks

 

 

 

 

 

Linn

Public

 

 

 

 

 

Mara

Barenbrug USA

 

 

 

 

 

Maverick Gold

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

 

 

Polly II

FFR/Southern States Cooperative

*

*

*

*

 

Quartet

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Green (FL)

Turf-Seed, Inc./Bunton Seed Co.

*

*

*

*

 

Yatsyn

Barenbrug USA

 

 

 

 

 

Experimental Varieties — Not Available for Farm Use

CAS-EP66

Lewis Seed Company

 

 

 

 

 

PP 11

Ampac Seed Company

 

 

 

 

 

*

Not significantly different from the highest yielding variety in the test.

1

Establishment year.

2

Harvest year.

 


Equal opportunity statement