Grazing/Forage Rye (Secale cereale) ‘Protector’
Grazing Rye is one of the most useful green manures as it can be sown later than any other cover crop. It can be sown after cash crops that are still being harvested in autumn. It also has an extensive root system and is one of the best crops at preventing nitrogen from leaching during the winter. It will add lots of biomass for the following crop and is not related to any cultivated crops meaning it can be used anywhere in crop rotation plans.
- This year we have the variety ‘Protector’ which is one of the fastest developing rye grain varieties, in Autumn as well in Spring.
- Rye is an excellent nitrogen lifter and it can lift and release up to 90% of nitrate to the next crop.
- Deep roots help to break up heavy soils and improve soil structure.
- Suppresses weeds.
- It suits most soils and copes especially well with heavy clay ones.
- Can be used for spring fodder.
- Dig into the soil in early spring – the foliage can be strimmed off and composted and the roots turned in with a sharp spade.
- As green manure foliage decomposes it releases compounds that can inhibit germination. This is especially true of rye. It is therefore not advisable to sow seeds immediately after digging in a green manure. Wait with sowing of small seeds for at least 3 weeks. Transplants and large seeded crops are not effected.
How to sow green manures:
- Prepare a reasonable seed bed.
- Broadcast or drill seeds. If you have a large area to cover it is a good idea to divide the seed and the land into 4 parts to avoid running out of seed.
- Rake, roll and water if soil is dry.