Cereal Rye

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Cereal Rye is a winter annual small grain commonly planted as a cover crop species and also widely used as a forage for livestock. Cereal Rye is the most winter hardy of any winter annual species and is used throughout the U.S. and Canada. There is little risk of winterkill in the rye, and it can be grown successfully as long as it is allowed to germinate in the fall. It is very quick to germinate and is the quickest maturing winter annual in terms of spring growth. Rye planted in the fall will break dormancy early and grow rapidly in the spring, making it an excellent competitor with winter annual weeds if used as a cover crop. Cereal Rye is one of the hardiest of any commonly planted crops in the U.S. and can grow in light soils with limited moisture or soils with salinity issues.

Seeding Rate: 1-2 bushels/acre
Drilled Seeding Depth: 1” – 1.5”

Product Guide


  • Planting Time: Mid-Late Fall
  • Seeding Rate: 1-2 bushels/acre (56#/bushel)
    • Use 1 bushel per acre if used strictly as a cover crop.
    • Use 1.5 bushels per acre if using as a forage crop.
    • Use 2 bushels per acre if planning on harvesting for grain or seed.
  • Drilled Seeding Depth: 1” – 1.5”
    • Can also be broadcasted.
  • Cereal Rye should be planted in the fall when conditions will allow it to germinate before entering a dormant winter period in which it will vernalize.


  • If the crop is intended for forage and soil fertility levels are low, consider applying 50-75 lbs/acre of nitrogen either at planting or during green-up in the spring to increase total biomass production.
  • For hay or haylage, cut shortly after seedhead emergence for the best combination of forage quality and yield.
  • If grazing, begin when rye is 12-20” tall and graze heavily enough to keep plants vegetative.
  • If using strictly as a cover crop to be terminated ahead of a cash crop, spray before rye begins the jointing stage of growth for most effective chemical termination.


Disclaimer: All products and rates were provided by university-based sources and product labels. Always follow label instructions and consult your local chemical dealer and seed dealer before making any applications or planting of seed.

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