If you look at global grazing agriculture, perennial ryegrass is the most widely used grass for grazing in the world because of its aggressive growth and high forage quality. Use has been limited in North America but in the last two decades, usage has increased. With proper management and high fertility, perennial ryegrass can be persistent for 5 to 7 years or more in the Midwest. Companies like Barenbrug and DLF are constantly developing varieties that are better adapted to usage in the Midwest. All the varieties we select have excellent grazing tolerance.
Successful use of perennial ryegrass requires aggressive management and high fertility. Intensively managed pastures are a great place to use perennial ryegrass. Perennial ryegrass makes excellent haylage or balage, but does not dry well for hay. Residual heights can be lower with perennial ryegrass compared to other grasses. Grazing down to about 2 inches in spring and fall is optimum but we find leaving higher residual of at least 3 inches in the summer helps persistence and overall productivity of the stand.
Perennial ryegrass can be sown by its self or sown in mixtures with legumes or other cool season grasses. Planting depth should be 0.25 to 0.50 inches. Broadcast sowing into thin stands can be successful but no-till drilling is the recommended method to thicken existing stands. Plants are ready for harvesting when they no longer can be pulled out by the roots.