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Seeding Rate

Winter rye is seeded at 1 million live plants per acre for crop production.  For cover crop, 40 lbs./acre is good rate for new growers.  Cover crop rates vary between 20 to 50 lbs/acre.  Generally, this is equivalent to approximately 1 bushel rye seed/acre for crop production. A bushel of rye is 56 lbs.  If rye is intended to be used as a late fall forage or spring pasture, seeding rate can be increased to a range of 1 - 2 bushels/acre. 

A target of 20 - 24 plants per square foot is wanted.  A detailed way to figure out rye seeding rate is below quoted from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Rye seeding depth is 1 to 1.5 inches .  Do not seed deeper than 2 inches as rye is the most sensitive to depth of all small grain crops.


The following example shows how to calculate seeding rate in pounds per acre of fall rye with a 93 per cent germination rate, 33 grams per 1,000 kernel weight and a seedbed emergence mortality rate of 3 per cent. Target plant population is 20 plants per square foot.

Adjusting for germination (93%) and 3% mortality
= 20 plants
x ___1___
= 22 kernels
sq ft
(.93 - .03)

need to be sown per square foot to get 20 live plants


22 kernels
x ____33g____
x 1 lb*
x 43560 sq ft
= 70 lb/ac
1 sq ft
1,000 kernels

is the seeding rate needed.


Source:1 "Seeding Fall Rye" Agdex 117/20-1, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. 2011. "2012 Winter Wheat Variety Trial", NCREC Annual Report.  "Winter Rye: A Reliable Cover Crop", V. Grubinger, Univ. of Vermont Extension Service. 2010. NDSU Soil Health: Cover Crops

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