Fria annual ryegrass not only delivers outstanding yields in the south and north, but has exceptional cold tolerance that helps in fall establishment and winter survival throughout the transition zone and further north. Developed by Dr. Gordon Prine at the University of Florida for cold tolerance, improved crown rust resistance and resistance to gray and helminthosporium leaf spot; Fria is a late maturing diploid variety.
For forage production, Fria is typically seeded into dormant warm season grass pastures or after wheat and corn silage harvest to provide grazing, hay, haylage or greenchop through the winter and spring. Recommended seeding rates are 20-25 pounds per acre drilled or 25-35 pounds per acre broadcast in the spring (March- April) or fall (August-early September). Fria provides consistent high quality forage production and excellent grazing under proper management. For hay or haylage, cut when the plant is between the boot and early head stage for optimum yield and quality. For grazing and green chop, start when Fria is 8 to 10 inches tall. Do not graze or greenchop lower than 3 inches.
As a cover crop, Fria can break up natural and manmade hardpans with its deep root penetration when planted in a continuous no-till rotation. Up to 30-90 pounds of nitrogen per acre can be provided for the following crop by recycling the nitrogen in the soil under no-till farming management as long as it is not harvested or grazed. The ability to capture and keep nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil profile after manure applications, preventing nutrient runoff is another big plus. Fria can also greatly reduce soil erosion, especially when planted after corn. Other benefits include reducing soybean cyst nematode populations and potential increased corn and soybean yields due to improved soil characteristics.