Thomas G. Chastain

Annual ryegrass [Lolium perenne L. ssp. multiflorum (Lam.) Husnot] seed crops have been produced on some Oregon farms continuously for decades without rotation of crops or farming practices.  The long-term influences of this continuous cropping of annual ryegrass have not been examined nor have any long-term practices been evaluated in annual ryegrass seed production.

Annual ryegrass seed field in Oregon (TG Chastain photo)

Long-term annual ryegrass cropping systems trials were initiated in the 2005-06 crop year in a project led by former OSU Extension Agent, Mark Mellbye.  His vision was for a 9-year project to study the long-term effects of several cropping practices on annual ryegrass seed production.

While there are several long-term cropping systems practices studies in field crops such as wheat at a variety of locations around the world, no long-term studies in grass seed crops and annual ryegrass in particular, have ever been conducted.  The following six cropping systems practices treatments were employed in the study:

  1. Continuous conventional tillage and planting system
  2. Continuous no-till planting system
  3. No-till/conventional tillage rotation (alternate year tillage)
  4. Volunteer/conventional tillage rotation (alternate year tillage)
  5. Burn and no-till/conventional tillage rotation (alternate year tillage)
  6. Volunteer/no-till/conventional tillage rotation (tillage every 3rd year)

The following were the primary findings of the study:

  • Annual ryegrass seed yield varied with tillage and establishment system, and environment.
  • No-till produced the lowest seed yields.
  • Environment x system interaction effects governed seed production characteristics.
  • Increased tillage frequency and residue removal are required to sustain long-term seed yields.
  • Yield differences among systems were attributable to seed number.

This article was published in Field Crops Research and can be found at the link below:

Chastain, T.G., C.J. Garbacik, and W.C. Young III. 2017. Tillage and establishment system effects on annual ryegrass seed crops. Field Crops Res. 209:144-150.



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