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Glass is an Agricultural Program Associate and Mask is an Associate Professor in the Auburn University Department of Agronomy and Soils.
Table 1. Seasonal Dry Matter Yield of Ryegrass Varieties at Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center, Fairhope, Alabama, 1999
Table 2. Seasonal Dry Matter Yield of Ryegrass Varieties at Plant Breeding Unit, Tallassee, Alabama, 1999
Table 3. Seasonal Dry Matter Yield of Ryegrass Varieties at Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center, Crossville, Alabama, 1999
Table 4. Seasonal Dry Matter Yield of Ryegrass Varieties at Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, Headland, Alabama, 1999
Table 5. Total Dry Matter Yield of Ryegrass Varieties, 1999, and Two- and Three-Year Averages at Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center, Plant Breeding Unit, and Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center
Table 6. Three-Year Average Seasonal Distribution of Ryegrass Variety Production at Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center, Plant Breeding Unit, and Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center, 1997-99
Sources of Ryegrass Seed
The Alabama Ryegrass Variety Evaluation is a continuing study of available varieties and breeding lines from private companies and state agricultural experiment stations. Experiments are planted annually in northern, central, and southern locations to evaluate the varieties and lines under the different environmental conditions of Alabama. Entries in each experiment are determined by the companies or institutes which control each variety, or line, not by experiment station personnel. The experiments are conducted by experiment station personnel and the results are presented in a fair and unbiased manner.
Ryegrass entries were seeded at a 20-pound-per-acre rate in rows 7 inches apart, using plots 5 x 20 feet with four replications. Moderate stands were obtained at the following locations: Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center, Crossville; E.V. Smith Research Center (Plant Breeding Unit), Tallassee; Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, Headland; and Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center, Fairhope.
The experiments were fertilized with phosphorus and potassium according to Auburn University soil test recommendations. At planting, nitrogen was applied at the rate of 50 pounds per acre, and an additional 50 pounds of N per acre was applied after each cutting. A 32- or 49-inch swath of each plot was harvested to a cutting height of 1.5 to 2 inches with a flail harvester each time the ryegrass reached a height of 6 to 10 inches. A herbage sample of approximately 1 pound was taken from each plot at each harvest for determining forage dry matter percentage.
In 1997, the tests were planted October 6, October 8, and October 23 at Crossville, Tallassee, and Fairhope, respectively. Good stands were obtained at all locations. All locations had wet conditions, and in some cases harvest was delayed somewhat due to the wetness. In 1998, tests were planted November 10, October 12, October 13, and October 16 at Crossville, Tallassee, Headland, and Fairhope, respectively. Crossville experienced drought conditions in the fall, which delayed planting. Also April and May were dry, which stopped production early. These factors together have created lower than normal yields at Crossville. All test locations had variable stands in the early growth stages.
Strategies to meet seasonal forage needs are an important consideration for livestock producers. Tables 1-4 provide yield data by harvest for 1998-99 at a given location, while table 5 shows one-, two-, and three-year total yields by location Seasonal and total forage dry matter yields by locations are provided in table 6. The three seasonal periods are fall-forage production through February; early spring-March and early April production; and late spring-production after April 20. A three-year average provides a more dependable comparison of ryegrass varieties than do single-year results. Please note that Headland will not have a two- or three-year average because 1999 is the first year for a full ryegrass trial to be conducted at this location.
Appreciation is expressed to Mien-Huei Tzeng, Research Data Analysis, for the data processing of this report. Also acknowledged are the contributions of R.A. Dawkins, Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center; L.N. Wells and B.E. Gamble, Wiregrass Research and Extension Center; N.R. McDaniel and M.D. Pegues, Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center; and J.S. Bannon and S.P. Nightengale, E.V. Smith Research Center, for growing and harvesting the experiments.