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.
- Apply 20-40 lbs/a of nitrogen between planting and late-tillering to maximize first cutting growth.
- Use the fertilizer rates below after each cutting for maximum yield potential:
|Recommended Application Rate (Lbs/acre)|
|Soil Fertility Level||Nitrogen (N)||Phosphorus (P2O5)||Potassium (K2O)|
*Rates are recommended if no soil test is taken.
- Excessive application of nitrogen can result in lodging and fertilizer 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 seed bed and use the herbicide options below for optimal weed control:
|Timing||Herbicide||Rate||Notes||Weeds Controlled||Control Method|
|Preplant or Preemergence||Makaze (Glyphosate)||32 oz/a||Apply any time before crop emergence||Grasses & Broadleaves||Contact|
|Postemergence||Widematch (Clopyralid + Fluroxypyr)||1-1.33 pts/a||Apply from 3-leaf to flag leaf emergence||Broadleaves||Contact|
|2,4-D Amine (2,4-D Amine)||0.75-1 pt/a||Apply between the 5-leaf and boot stages||Broadleaves||Contact|
|Starane Ultra (Fluroxypyr)||0.3-0.4 pts/a||Apply from 3-leaf to flag leaf emergence||Broadleaves||Contact|
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.
- 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.