Cereal Rye & Annual Ryegrass

Cereal Rye (Grain)

Seeding dates & rates: 8/1-11/1

       Drilled: 50- 90 lbs./ acre at ¾ - 1 ½” depth

       Broadcast: 55-100 lbs./ acre

       Aerial: 60-100 lbs. / acre 
Selecting a Product or Variety: Choose cleaned and tested seed from a reputable supplier. Many products  are bin run, and may contain high levels of weed seed or noxious weeds. Cleaned seed has less chaff and debris  that can damage equipment. Tested seed lists the percent of weed seed and noxious weeds. Rye can be selected as a variety for characteristics such as hardiness, height, etc. 
Common varieties include: Hazlet, Ryemin, etc. 
Also, verify what you are buying. Cereal rye is sold in many ways including: 48lb bags, 50lb bags, 56lb (bushel) bags.   
Benefits: Nitrogen Scavenging, Soil Building, Subsoiling, Erosion Prevention, Grazing, Residue, Weed Suppression, Extended Planting Window 
Cautions: Allelopathy (negative effect), Host Crop for Pests, Nitrogen Tie Up, Rapid Spring Growth 
Spring Management and Termination: Multiple tillage passes, chemical, or mechanical (roller, mower, crimper)  
Chemical termination should occur at 14-18” height. Mechanical termination should occur in milk or dough stage.  Late terminations may result in nitrogen tie up, and have an effect if corn is the following crop.  Cereal rye may host certain pest species, and insecticide should be considered.  

Annual Ryegrass

Seeding dates & rates: 8/1-9/15  

       Drilled: 12-20 lbs./ acre at ¼ - ½” depth  

       Broadcast: 13 -22 lbs./ acre  

       Aerial: 14- 24 lbs. / acre 
Selecting a Variety: Choose a pure variety from a reputable seed source instead of blends. Blends often mature at different times, making termination challenging. Varieties can be selected based on winter hardiness. There are more than 170 blends and varieties on the market. Make sure you select annual ryegrass instead of Italian or perennial ryegrass, as it is best suited and more economical for cover cropping 
Common varieties include: King, Bounty, etc.

Benefits: Nitrogen Scavenging, Soil Building, Subsoiling, Erosion Prevention, and Grazing 
Cautions: Termination, Winter Hardiness, Planting Window, Seed Swath (use smaller spread pattern) 
Spring Management and Termination: Multiple tillage passes or chemical termination.


Annual ryegrass is easier to kill before jointing which occurs at 7-10” height.  Early control maximizes nitrogen release and decomposition. 
For chemical terminations, it is advised to wait until temperatures warm up (ex: 3 consecutive nights with a min. temp of 50F) to improve translocation and kill.  For best results, spray in the morning while sun is shining. Consider adding an adjuvant to buffer water pH to help absorption. If possible, allow 5-7 days between termination and tillage. 

Rye Seed
  Cereal Rye            Annual Ryegrass