Cereal Rye Cover Crop Plant

Late seeding? No problem. Cereal Rye is the most winter-hardy cover crop with germination temperatures extending down to around 34°F.

It’s relatively deep; fibrous roots scavenge nutrients lower in the soil profile and redistribute them closer to the surface.  These roots also prevent erosion and aid in building soil organic matter. Cereal Rye has a broad range of adaptation both geographically and among soil types (infertile, sandy, acidic).  Although performing best in light loam or sandy soil, certain Cereal Rye cultivars will tolerate heavy clays, poorly drained soils, and even waterlogged soils.

Overwintering using Cereal Rye after corn or before/after soybeans, fruits, and vegetables performs well. Rotationally, Cereal Rye will provide a windbreak for these crops or fill a rotation gap.

Termination should be accomplished by rolling, mowing, or herbicides. Due to its rapid growth and allelopathic properties, Cereal Rye is one of the better cover crops to help suppress weeds, especially those that show resistance/tolerance to herbicides.  Unfortunately, Cereal Rye can occasionally be allelopathic to corn. To account for this, Cereal Rye should be terminated at least ten days before planting corn.  If cattle are a part of the farming operation, Cereal Rye will provide up to 10,000 pounds of dry matter per acre, and will make a good forage source.

Cereal Rye is fast growing with easy establishment in the fall and early spring. When seeded ahead of soybean, it can be mixed with Rapeseed and Radish to enhance overall cover crop benefits. When planting ahead of corn, it requires additional management to avoid tying up too much nitrogen that could result in a yield loss. Yield loss can be offset by reducing the Cereal Rye seeding rate and adding legumes including vetches, clovers, or peas.

Key Benefits

  • Easy Establishment

  • Multiple Termination Methods

  • Allelopathic Effect on Weeds

  • Scavenge N

  • Prevent Erosion

  • Suppress Weed

  • Add Organic Matter

Technical Information

Erosion Control
Forage Quality
Nitrogen Source
Nutrient Scavenging
Quick Growth
Soil Building
Weed Suppression
Winter Hardiness
Seeding Rate LBS/ADrilled: 50 – 60
Broadcast: 60 – 75
Aerial: 75 – 90
Seeding Depth0.75″ – 1.5″
Minimum Germination Temperature34° F
InterseedYes
Seeds/LB18,000

Technical Information

Erosion Control
Forage Quality
Nitrogen Source
Nutrient Scavenging
Quick Growth
Soil Building
Weed Suppression
Winter Hardiness
Seeding Rate

LBS/A

Drilled: 50 – 60
Broadcast: 60 – 75
Aerial: 75 – 90
Seeding Depth0.75″ – 1.5″
Min. Germ. F°34° F
InterseedYes
Seeds/LB18,000