Italian Ryegrass is a cool-season grass that is bi-annual in nature but is treated as an annual forage in northern climates. It is commonly used for hay, silage, or grazing due to its exceptional forage quality and high season-long yield potential. It will behave differently than annual ryegrass, which will produce seed during the summer if planted in the spring. Italian Ryegrass planted in the spring will remain vegetative throughout the growing season. It displays rapid growth as well as regrowth following cutting. Forage quality of Italian Ryegrass is excellent, with high digestibility as well as crude protein levels in the teens. It is somewhat challenging to cure for hay due to the grass having a waxy covering that gives it its shiny appearance in the field. Italian Ryegrass will produce multiple cuttings on fertile soils with adequate moisture. It is not productive in limited moisture environments and does not perform well in degraded or low fertility soils.
Drilled Seeding Rate: 25 lbs/acre
- Planting Time: Early Spring
- Italian Ryegrass can tolerate any light frost that may occur after planting.
- Drilled Seeding Rate: 25 lbs/acre
- Ideal Seeding Depth: .25-.5”
- Seed can also be broadcasted and rolled or packed to gain seed to soil contact.
- Italian Ryegrass requires approximately 43 lbs of N, 12 lbs of P₂O₅, and 43 lbs of K₂O per ton of forage produced.
- Make fertilizer applications based on expected yield and soil fertility levels.
- Applying 25 lbs/acre of nitrogen between planting and late-tillering can help maximize first cutting growth.
- Excessive amounts of nitrogen can result in lodging and fertilizer applications should be split applied after each harvest.
- Do not exceed a total of 10 lbs/a of N+K if fertilizer is placed in-furrow.
- Plant into a clean, weed-free seedbed.
- If weeds are present at planting, consider applying glyphosate before or after planting if drilled, but before crop emergence to
control existing weeds. Do not apply glyphosate after planting if crop is broadcasted and not incorporated.
- Although Italian Ryegrass is tolerant to some of the common broadleaf herbicide active ingredients, such as 2,4-D amine,
clopyralid, and fluroxypyr, there are no products specifically labeled for the use in Italian Ryegrass as a forage.
- For hay or haylage, cut Italian Ryegrass when it is 18″-20″ tall and cut at a height of 3″-4″ to leave adequate stubble for regrowth.
- If grazing, begin when Italian Ryegrass is 8″-12″ tall and do not graze below 3″‘-4″ to allow the quickest regrowth.
- The interval between cutting or grazing should be approximately 30 days if moisture and fertility are adequate.
- Italian Ryegrass is intended to be used as a season-long, multi-harvest crop and produces forage that is safe for harvest or grazing from spring through fall.