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PERENNIAL RYE GRASS.   87

 

Provinces. As it loves a moist climate, it may be of some value for the Maritime Provinces and the Pacific slope, especially on heavy soil of good quality.

Habits of growth: Perennial Rye Grass is sometimes rather difficult to start. This is, however, not a general characteristic; it is often due to poor seed. If conditions are favourable and the seed of good quality, its development is rapid and a good growth can be obtained in a few weeks. It reaches its maximum yield the year after sowing but may continue to give fair returns for several years.

Agricultural value: It is one of the oldest forage plants of the Old World. It was cultivated in England almost two hundred and fifty years ago and is highly esteemed in the countries surrounding the North Sea. Although of only medium yield and nutritive value, in some parts of Europe it is grown in preference to any other fodder grass.

Fodder: On account of its rapid development and short du-ration, Perennial Rye is useful in hay mixtures, pastures, or lawns where quick results are wanted while more valuable and permanent grasses are becoming established. Its greatest nutritive value is immediately before flowering. Being rather early, it should be mixed with other early-flowering grasses, such as Orchard Grass.

Pasture: Grazing should begin before the stems are too far advanced. Under favourable conditions it recovers quickly and keeps on producing green feed until late in the fall. It stands rough treatment better than almost any other grass, tramping acting rather as a stimulant. When used alone, thirty pounds of good seed are enough for an acre.

Seed : Most of the seed is grown in Scotland and England. When a crop is wanted, the best land should be used, for the seed is cheap and good returns must be secured to make the business a profitable one. A field can be harvested for seed only once. A crop of hay is secured early in the season and the second crop is set apart for seed production. Cutting too early gives a light seed which is worth little, as the price depends upon the weight. On the other hand, if cutting is started too late, loss will result from shelling. The right time is about a month after flowering, when the seeds begin to be leathery.


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