Some are floating the idea of hybrid rye as an option for a winter grain crop with great potential for the 2023/2024 season.
Experiments have confirmed that the grain is particularly suitable for pig rations.
Rye grows well on light land, where drought can be a problem, and on sites where Take-All is a real challenge.
Cereals are particularly resistant to this disease. It is a September planted crop and fills the gap very well for winter cereals that can be grown successfully at this time of year.
A survey conducted by Seedtech at the conclusion of the 2023 harvest confirmed a number of key criteria regarding the planting and management of hybrid rye crops.
The average yield recorded was 3.8 t/ac at 71 kg/ha. Hay production in straw reached 15 (4×4 bales)/ac.
Pilot work by Teagasc has confirmed that rye crop yields will outperform other cereal options by approximately 7%, in terms of straw.
The vast majority of farmers participating in the Seedtech survey were happy with their rye crops and intend to grow them again. However, the price of grain is one factor that keeps farmers looking to the future.
Almost all rye crops were planted after the grain crop, and most had some level of risk.
The average amount of fertilizer used was 133 units of nitrogen (N)/AC, 27 units of phosphate (P)/AC, and 98 units of potash (K)/AC.
The average soil pH value for the crops studied was 6.6.
More than half of the crops did not receive herbicides or insecticides in the fall. This was probably a reflection of the miserable weather at the back end.
Crops reported as “average” or “good” in the spring tend to have higher yields. Lower yields were associated with lower plant numbers in the spring.
The only two crops that reported slug damage were the least productive crops.
Most crops have got a strong plant growth regulation (PGR) programme. Growers tended to report accommodations where the PGR program was not strong but most crops “leaned out.”
All crops received at least two fungicides.
From a comprehensive crop management perspective, rye crops will be ready for harvest after winter barley but before winter wheat.
This will allow farmers to spread out the time of harvesting operations and field work required throughout the growing season.
Teagasc is currently developing new market niches for cereals, both within the monogastric and ruminant segments.