Journal of NACAA

Effects of Planting Method and Seeding Rate on Forage Production and Nutritive Value of Annual Ryegrass

ISSN 2158-9429

Volume 16, Issue 1 - June 2023

Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott


Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) is an important annual cool-season grass to the cow-calf and stocker cattle industry in the southern USA. It is hypothesized that the annual ryegrass establishment method and seeding rate could impact forage production. In a two-year study, two strategies were implemented to determine annual ryegrass establishment and forage production. The study was conducted at Mississippi State University across two growing seasons [Season 1 (2016/2017) and Season 2 (2017/2018)] in a randomized complete block design in a split-plot arrangement. The main plots consisted of two planting methods (broadcast and drill) in a prepared seed bed and the sub-plots were six seeding rates [20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 50 lb pure live seed (PLS) per acre (ac-1)]. The study was harvested twice in Season 1 and four times in Season 2. Data collected included biomass production, leaf area index (LAI), and forage nutritive value. Biomass production was not affected by planting methods or seeding rates. Mean harvest biomass decreased when LAI was greater than 3.5. Crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) were mainly affected by harvest dates across seasons. Partial economic analysis indicated that an increase in seed rate increased the cost of annual ryegrass per ton of dry matter. Data suggests that seeding rates between 20 and 30 lb PLS ac-1 were sufficient to sustain annual ryegrass productivity during the growing season while being economically viable.

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