University of Missouri Extension

M181, New February 2012

Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage

Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

Cool-season grasses

Perennial ryegrass is routinely used for cattle and sheep pasture in Australia and New Zealand. In Missouri, it persists best in the southern part of the state. Under good management, it is a high-quality and high-yielding grass; forage yields of 10,000 lb/acre have been reported in southern Missouri. Like tall fescue, perennial ryegrass produces most of its yield during spring and autumn but lags behind other grasses in midsummer. Perennial ryegrass is aggressive under high rainfall and moderate temperatures and might crowd out other forage species under such conditions. It is not as tolerant of drought and temperature extremes as other cool-season grasses. Lack of persistence across the state has caused producers to avoid perennial ryegrass. Cultivars with improved plant persistence are currently being developed.

Perennial ryegrassPerennial ryegrass
 

Yield distributionYield distribution of perennial ryegrass in Missouri with deffered grazing.
 

Seed head
Seed head

Collar region
Collar region


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

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