Grazing Oklahoma – Annual Ryegrass

By Laci Jones

Not to be confused with rye, ryegrass is not a cereal plant. Two ryegrass species grow in the United States— perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass. Both annual and perennial ryegrass produce highly digestible and palatable forage, and can exceed 70 percent digestible dry matter and 20 percent crude protein when grazed and harvested at the proper growth stage.

Annual ryegrass is a cool-season forage native to southern Europe. Sometimes referred to as Italian ryegrass, this forage is bunch-type grass that can grow to a height of two to five feet. The plant has a dark green color, deep fibrous roots and waxy leaves. The ryegrass inflorescence has elongated spikes containing five to 38 spikelets arranged alternately, with four to 17 florets per spikelet. To read more pick up the January 2016 issue of OKFR.

Courtesy of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.
Courtesy of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.