Annual Ryegrass as Haylage – More Profit and Protein

According to an article today in SE Farm Press, annual ryegrass is among the top quality forages available for livestock. Check out the article by clicking here:

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Killing Annual Ryegrass – Part 2

Annual ryegrass is a vigorous plant. Planted last summer or fall, the roots can be established to more than 5 feet into the soil. So, even if there’s only 6 – 8 inches of top growth, treat annual ryegrass as a mature plant. Successful control of annual ryegrass with glyphosate or other herbicides depends on:

  • Using full herbicide rates
  • Spraying during favorable weather conditions
  • Using good spraying practices.

Click here for a free brochure: Annual Ryegrass Management

Click here to go to the Annual Ryegrass website, for more detail on management.

Controlling annual ryegrass in the spring is best done:

  • In warm weather
  • When the ryegrass is actively growing.

Annual ryegrass can be a challenge to control if the herbicide is applied when:

  • There is cool, cloudy and wet weather, or
  • When the ryegrass has reached the joint growth stage (stem elongation).

Timing - Control (burndown) of the annual ryegrass cover crop:

  • Is most successful when the plant is small, 4-8” in height
  • Annual ryegrass is more difficult to control after the first node has developed
  • Burndown occurs before the middle of April

 

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Annual Ryegrass Touted in SARE Cover Crop Videos

In a series of videos produced by Sustainable Ag Research & Education (SARE): called Cover Crop Innovators, Midwest farmers talk about their experience with annual ryegrass and other cover crops.Click here for the whole series:

Or, click here to see the video on Indiana farmer Jamie Scott

Click here to see the video on Indiana farmer Dan DeSutter

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Killing Annual Ryegrass – Be Precise for Success

At every trade show and field day, we hear the story (thankfully, fewer times each year) about how “hard it is to kill annual ryegrass.” Invariably, when you ask a couple of specific questions, the problem becomes very clear. “In some things about agriculture, you can cut corners and not cause too many problems,” said Dan Towery. “With annual ryegrass, you’re asking for trouble if you deviate from a strict management protocol.”

So, the first question Dan asks people who have trouble with annual ryegrass management:

  • Did you add AMS (ammonium sulfate) to the tank water and agitate it BEFORE adding the glyphosate?

Ammonium sulfate is a surfactant, whose purpose is to improve retention on the leaf surface and increase movement of the herbicide from the leaf surface into the leaf. AMS also softens “hard” water, helping to nullify the impact of naturally-occurring magnesium and calcium.

WIthout AMS, the minerals in water will compromise the effectiveness of glyphosate.Adding AMS helps the translocation of glyphosate to the annual ryegrass.

  • What time of day was the glyphosate sprayed on the annual ryegrass cover crop?

Proper translocation of glyphosate into the plant tissue depends on the air temperature, the weather and what time of day you apply it. For more specific information on this particular aspect, click here to take you to the annual ryegrass website.

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SARE Ties with DuPont-Pioneer on Cover Crops

In February, a select group of 300 cover crop experts gathered in Omaha to discuss the prospect of massively enlarging the number of cover crop acres in the Midwest.

At present, there’s an estimated 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 acres of corn and soybean cropland now being improved with cover crops each year. The meeting’s purpose – to explore how to expand that number to 20 million acres in the next six years.

Click here to see presentations of innovative growers who are showing the way how we’ll get there.

 

 

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Managing Annual Ryegrass this Spring

Controlling annual ryegrass in the spring with glyphosate or other herbicides depends on: (click here for the larger, more detailed version)

  • Using full herbicide rates
  • Spraying during favorable weather conditions
  • Using good spraying practices.

Controlling annual ryegrass in the spring is best done:

  • In warm weather
  • When the ryegrass is actively growing.

Annual ryegrass can be a challenge to control if the herbicide is applied when:

  • There is cool, cloudy and wet weather, or
  • When the ryegrass has reached the joint growth stage (stem elongation).

The next post will have more specific guidelines. In the meantime, check out the Annual Ryegrass website for more detailed infomation.

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Annual Ryegrass Helps Soil Microbiology Helps Soil Health

“Many times during a drought, plants are not as much water stressed as they are nutrient stressed,” said USDA soil microbiologist Kris Nichols.

Cover crops feed a whole web of soil organisms…much more than mere crop residue. Those organisms seek carbon and they get it from live plants like corn.

Nichols said that the microbes, in exchange for carbon, give up nutrients and water which they get from the soil.

Mycorrhizal fungi are an example Nichols uses to explain the value added that microbiology brings to crops. The little critters are threadlike, much smaller in width than plant roots, and have more access to more soil than plants.

Cover crops like annual ryegrass are conducive to production of healthy mycorrhizae population and create a symbiotic relationship helping the fungi, the soil and the plants. “Plants growing in soils rich with mycorrhizae take advantage of the fungi to help them obtain nutrients from the soil,” she added.

“They accomplish this using much less water, as well,” Nelson continued. The soil structure, rich with microorganisms, is more conducive to water retention, as she explains, “Organisms help form soil aggregates, which allows for better water absorption because there is more pore space in the soil for water as well as an exchange of gas.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Dupont Pioneer Looks at Cover Crops – Annual Ryegrass

Managing Winter Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Cropping Systems

DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Research Summary – 2014 (Click here for full report)

 

Table 1. Potential benefits of cover crops.

Potential
Benefit

Description

Retain Soil
Nutrients

Cover crops scavenge soil nutrients as they grow and
ultimately release them for following crops to use. This
reduces the potential for nutrient losses, especially N.

Prevent Soil
Erosion

Cover crops help hold soil in place, reduce crusting
and protect against erosion due to wind and rain.

Build Soil
Organic Matter

Cover crop biomass contributes to soil organic matter,
which helps to improve soil structure, water infiltration,
and water-holding and nutrient-supply capacity.

Break Soil
Compaction

Cover crop roots can act as “living plows,” breaking up
compacted soil layers. Cover crop shoots can also
help protect the soil from the impact of heavy rains.

Add
Nitrogen
(N)

Leguminous cover crops fix N as they grow. This N
mineralizes after the cover crop is terminated and
becomes available for use by future crops.

Conserve
Soil
Moisture

Cover crop residues increase water infiltration and
limit soil evaporation. This helps to reduce moisture
stress during drought conditions.

Suppress
Weeds

Cover crops shade the soil, which can reduce weed
germination and growth. Some cover crops also have
an allelopathic effect on weeds.

Provide
Additional
Forage

In some areas, it may be possible to graze, hay or
chop cover crops before terminating in the spring.

In recent years, interest in adding cover crops to corn and soybean cropping systems has increased as their potential benefits have become more widely recognized. Most of these benefits are realized over time as their ongoing use improves soil quality and function (Table 1). Thus, cover crops are best viewed as a long-term investment in soil productivity.

Cover Crop Selection – Grasses, Legumes, Brassicas

Grasses, including winter cereals such as rye, wheat, barley and triticale, are the most widely used cover crops in corn and soybean cropping systems. Winter cereals are typically planted in late summer through late fall and produce a small to moderate amount of root and above-ground biomass before going dormant in the winter. Vigorous growth resumes in early spring, and large amounts of biomass are produced by mid to late spring. Some growers prefer non-winterhardy cereals like oats, which establish rapidly in the fall but winterkill and leave behind little residue to manage in the spring. Annual ryegrass is another option if spring residue levels are a concern.

 

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Annual Ryegrass at Commodity Classic – Feb 28

Annual ryegrass is among the most popular cover crops. As such, it will be among the key elements in a Cover Crop learning session at the Commodity Classic this year, in San Antonio, TX. The session will cover both the trend in cover crop use nationally, but also specifics on how to make cover crops work for your acreage.

The Conservation Technology Information Center and DuPont Pioneer are sponsoring the session. Here’s a link to a full story and details about attending

The learning center session, “Cover Your Assets: Improve Productivity, Efficiency and Soil with Cover Crops,” will take place Feb. 28 at 1:45 p.m. in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 217BC.

The presenters include Mike Plumer and Jamie Scott, both of whom have been long time annual ryegrass advocates. Mike worked for decades for the U. of IL as an Extension Educator. Jamie is an Indiana farmer, whose business now includes providing annual ryegrass seed flown onto about 60,000 acres each year.

Additional experts are Rob Myers, regional director of extension programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and  Karen Scanlon, CTIC executive director, who will moderate the session.

“Cover crops are an exciting topic that continues to gain the spotlight,” Scanlon said.

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Annual Ryegrass Seeded into Springtime Corn!


Yes, you read correctly…farmers in Quebec, Canada began experimenting, 5 years ago, with spring seeding annual ryegrass into new corn…when the plants showed between 4 and 6 leaves.

Apparently, the annual ryegrass goes dormant when the corn canopy closes over in June, leaving the grass in shade until harvest. After harvest, sunlight sets the annual ryegrass growing again like gangbusters. According to a new article in Corn Guide, the grass soaks up residual N, P, and K going into winter. The author reports, also, that even in early years, farmers see a bump in corn production from the addition of annual ryegrass. See the full article here.

ARG in Quebec - November photo

 

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