Annual Ryegrass

Annual ryegrass is a rapidly growing bunchgrass that is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions. It regrows continuously throughout the season and has the potential to be highly productive if it receives enough rain and nitrogen. It is a useful species for mid- to late-season production buyt does poorly under high-temperature conditions. During periods of little or no rainfall, the plants stop growing and may die. Two types of ryegras of differing growth habits are available.

Italian Ryegrass

The Italian ryegrasses are short-lived perennials, but under Ontario winter conditions behave like an annual. The Italian ryegrasses remain vegetative, producing a lush, leafy growth that doesn't usually grow tall that 40 cm (16 in.). They are difficult to use for making hay.

Westerwold Ryegrass

The Westerwold type is a true annual and grows to 40-80 cm (16-32 in.) high, making it suitable for pastures or hay crops. The Weswterwold varieties grow taller, produce stems and are therefore easier to hay. Cut before or just at the heading stage. Feed quality decreases rapidly after heading.

Seed in early spring at a rate of 20-25 kg/ha using a drill or cultipacker-type seeder. The seed should be placed 1 cm deep and the seedbed rolled to ensure good emergence from the light fluffy seed.