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Annual & Italian Ryegrass Variety Trial For Forage and Re-Growth Potential

Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report

Annual and Italian ryegrasses are easier to establish. Producers ask many questions about annual and Italian ryegrass varieties. Producers want to know what annual ryegrass varieties to seed as monocrop or in cocktail mixtures for greenfeed or silage and which varieties have better re-growth potential after cutting for the purpose of extending fall grazing. It’s important to choose a variety that establishes quickly, a variety that is well-adapted to the area, yields plenty, very palatable and yields consistently throughout the season after harvesting. Annual ryegrass varieties fall into two types, which are called tetraploid or diploid. Tetraploid varieties are usually marketed as producing more forage biomass than diploids, but this could depend on location, management, fertility, and environmental conditions. Diploids have the advantage of a greater cold tolerance and quicker recovery. Annual ryegrass as a cover crop has the following benefits: tolerance to a wide range of soils, can tolerate compacted soils, minimizes soil compaction, N scavenger, suppresses weeds in 4-6 weeks, good erosion control and improves soil aggregate.


The study site was at the Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview. Soil test at 0-6” soil depth done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed an organic matter content of 7.1%, a pH of 5.5 (acidic) and an electrical conductivity of 0.35 dS/m. The field was cultivated before seeding.

The varieties were arranged in a randomized complete block design in 3 replications. Small plots measuring 11.04 m2 (118.8 ft2) were used.

Treatments (Varieties): The following 7 annual and Italian ryegrasses were tested in