University of Missouri Extension

M181, New February 2012

Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage

Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.)

Cool-season grasses

Annual ryegrass is increasingly being used for fall and winter pasture, particularly in southern Missouri. Annual ryegrass is easy to establish and, under ideal conditions, capable of producing 2,000 to 3,000 lb/acre of forage within 60 days of planting. If you manage to leave a 3- to 4-inch stubble, total season yields can approach 13,000 lb/acre in southern Missouri. Annual ryegrass retains its forage quality well over winter. In a vegetative state, annual ryegrass is often more than 18 percent crude protein and has acid detergent fiber (ADF) levels of less than 26 percent. As a result, all classes of livestock produce well on it. The drawbacks to annual ryegrass are a lack of winter hardiness, particularly from unadapted cultivars, and annual establishment costs.

Annual ryegrassAnnual ryegrass
 

Yield distributionYield distribution of annual ryegrass in Missouri.
 

Seed head
Seed head

Collar region
Collar region with overlapping auricles


 

M181 Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage | University of Missouri Extension

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