View Full Version : Let's Talk about Rye Grain, Annual Rye and Ryegrass

Muddy Creek Farms
03-08-2011, 12:12 PM
In the past, when in college in central Alabama, I worked on an 8k acre cattle farm where we leased out some of the land for hunting clubs. Back then, we planted all the food plots for the clubs which consisted of planting in Marshall Rye and crimson Clover every year. And they did great with those. Fast forward to now, I'm working on better establishing the deer herd where we hunt through food plotting and habitat work.
Last year, my initial talk was to plant some cool season plots using Marshall Ryegrass. My Father In Law, who farms all the property flipped out about the time I mentioned ryegrass. He says he's tried for years spraying that stuff and trying to kill it with little success, and he sure didn't want us planting any around the ag fields.
So, I realize there is a difference between ryegrass and rye grain, but I'd like some clarification on it. His stance is, no rye of anykind around.

03-08-2011, 05:40 PM
Annual ryegrass is a reseeding cool season grass. Harder to control because it will rebolt after being clipped or grazed short as the lowest node on stem is close to the crown. Two glyphosate applications, one late winter and the other early spring (~50F soil temps and several forecast 50 F highs) are great for control add in a fall spraying and control is even better. It is a prolific reseeder and often delays early growth of warm season grasses in the sward. We have a 'perpetual' annual ryegrass sward dating back to the 1970s. :rolleyes:

Cereal rye is a cool season small grain just like wheat, tritcale, and oats. It can be effectively managed against reseeding by cattle grazeout in spring or bailing/mowing at the milk/dough stage of seedheads. Lowest node on the stem of cereal rye is about 6-8" above the crown, so clipping/grazing to a 4" height is effective at killing the plant. Cereal rye is excellent for establishing clover because it does not tiller profusely and provides strong alleopathy in spring to aid in weed control.

A mix of wheat and oats can be used to establish clover, but both tiller morso than cereal rye. Hence, seeding rate of wheat + oat should be reduced below 120 lb per ac when establishing clover to minimize shading and competition.