Topics : Species and Forage Variety Trials : Species Fact Sheets : Ryegrass
Additional ryegrass information via the Forage Information System (FIS)
Soil pH for optimum ryegrass production is between 6.0 and 7.0; however, ryegrass has been grown at pH of 5.0. Determine fertility and lime needs by soil testing, but in the absence of a soil test on soil with a medium-fertility level, plow down 0-45- 135 lb per acre and apply 20-20-20 lb per acre at seeding (banded if possible) when seeding without a legume. When seeding ryegrass with a legume, apply none or less than 20 lb per acre of nitrogen at seeding. Nitrogen application in excess of 20 lb per acre will stimulate ryegrass development and inhibit legume establishment. On well adapted soils, ryegrass is very competitive with other grasses, legumes, or weeds.
A soil test is the best guide for proper fertilization of established ryegrass. Do not apply fertilizers in excess of soil test recommendations because nutrient imbalances may occur in animals consuming the ryegrass. Ryegrass responds very well to nitrogen fertilization which is very important for economical production. Profitable economic returns over investment can usually be obtained with applications of 150 lbs of N per acre per year. It should be applied in split applications of 50 to 60 lbs per acre in the spring with the remaining amount being evenly divided and applied after each grazing or cutting. Seeding mixtures of ryegrass and a legume reduces the need for nitrogen fertilization. Applying high rates of nitrogen (in the form of manure) to alfalfa-ryegrass mixtures, caused ryegrass to dominated; however, ryegrass was less suppressive than orchardgrass in alfalfa mixtures when manure was added.
Additional and more detailed information on forage fertilization is also available.