RYEGRASS

RYEGRASS

Ryegrass Overview
Ryegrasses have a range of natural features that have been enhanced by breeders for greater flexibility across seasons and animal performance. Examples of these features are briefly explained below followed by a carefully selected range of cultivars. For further information regarding these features or other perennial ryegrass cultivars please don’t hesitate to contact a Seeds & Cereals representative.

Ryegrass Features
Ryegrasses have a range of natural features that have been enhanced by breeders for greater flexibility across seasons and animal performance. Examples of these features are briefly explained below. For further information regarding these features or other perennial ryegrass cultivars please feel free to contact a Seeds & Cereals representative.

Endophyte
Endophyte is a naturally occurring fungus that grows inside perennial and some hybrid ryegrasses to protect them from insect attack but can also cause animal health problems, especially ryegrass staggers.

  • (LE) Low Endophyte provides good animal performance but less persistence.
  • (HE/SE) High or Standard Endophyte persists extremely well in tough conditions but causes ryegrass staggers.
  • (AR1) Provides staggers-free grass but has no protection from black beetle and is susceptible to root aphid.
  • (AR37) Maximises grass performance and animal productivity without protection against staggers.

Ploidy
Ploidy describes the number of sets of chromosomes in a plant cell. In nature, ryegrasses have 14 chromosomes, referred to as diploid, plant breeders can double the number to create a tetraploid with 28 chromosomes.

  • Diploid ryegrasses have two sets of chromosomes and exhibit characteristics such as fine leaves and dense tillers. They are best suited to conditions of lower fertility, drier conditions and close grazing. (Sowing Rates: Diploid: Alone: 20-25 kgs per ha, Mixed: 15-18 kgs per ha)
  • Tetraploid types have four sets of chromosomes and are generally more palatable, with higher moisture and sugar content. They are best suited to conditions of high fertility, moist or irrigated conditions and rotational grazing. (Sowing Rates: Alone: 25-30 kgs per ha, Mixed: 18-22 kgs per ha)

Heading dates
A heading date describes when a grass cultivar starts showing flower or seed heads in spring.

  • Early to mid heading provides excellent late August and September growth when feed is often a critical factor. In general, the annual ryegrasses tend to mature earlier whereas the Italian ryegrasses are mid to late season maturing.
  • Late heading can improve spring growth and late spring quality, and make pasture management easier.