If you are a Pittsburg County cattle producer and looking to extend the grazing seasons for livestock, now is the time to plant cool season pastures. Annual ryegrass seeded in pastures could be the best option. Below are a few frequently asked questions and responses about growing annual ryegrass.
Why would I want to grow ryegrass?
Ryegrass is a high quality cool season annual grass that can reduce the amount of feed and forage you pour into your cow herd during the winter months. Reducing feeding costs is one of the best ways of increasing a cow herd’s profitability.
What kind of yields could I expect?
Ryegrass will only produce about 900lbs of forage in the fall, thus, limiting its winter grazing potential. It can however, with proper fertility, produce between 2 and 3 tons of forage from March through May helping to reduce the winter feeding period.
What kind of quality does ryegrass have throughout the year?
Ryegrass when in vegetative state will on average have a protein content of 12-16% and a TDN of 63-68%, after the plants start to go to seed, protein will be between 8-12% crude protein and 59-63% TDN.
How much ryegrass seed should I plant and when?
Ryegrass should be seeded at 20-25 lbs per acre in September through October. Ryegrass seed can be mixed with fertilizer and applied to the pasture through the fertilizer spreader or it can be spread with a three point whirly bird type seeder. It can also be planted with by a drill with a small seed box, but care should be taken not to plant the seed deeper than ¼ of an inch.
What effect does ryegrass have on my Bermuda grass when grown in the same pasture?
Ryegrass is a very competitive plant and will use up all of the nitrogen and a lot of water in a pasture prior to bermuda grass green up. If a bermuda grass crop is expected in the summer, producers should have the ryegrass grazed or hayed by May 1.