Rye grass/endophyte abatement

Asked July 18, 2017, 10:54 AM EDT

Hi We just purchased 6 acres that had been leased to a farmer who has been growing perennial rye grass seed on it for several years. We want to convert the land to organic (no chemicals) and someday have some livestock. What would be the best way to acomplish this and how long might it take? Thanks! Candy

Clackamas County Oregon small farm issues

4 Responses

https://tilth.org/certification/ Hi Candy,

Congratulations on your farm.

Perennial rye grass is a recommended pasture species for Western Oregon, so you're off to a good start. Transitioning the land from conventional use to organic takes three years for certification.

These resources will help you out as you begin to establish new species in your pasture.

Coastal pastures in Western Oregon (also good for all of Western Oregon)
Pasture and Grazing Management in the Pacific Northwest
PASTURE MANAGEMENT: UNDERSTANDING PLANT AND ROOT GROWTH IN THE FALL

The OSU Small Farms Website has other resources on pasture and grazing management.

You can contact Oregon Tilth or the Oregon Department of Agriculture for more information on organic certification and transitioning.

Recommended pasture species for Western Oregon include:

  • Grasses
    • tall fescue
    • perennial ryegrass
    • orchard grass
  • Legumes
    • white clover
    • subterranean clover
    • birdsfoot trefoil
The ideal time for seeding you pasture is in the fall , just before a rain.

Enjoy being on this land.

Hi Heidi, Thanks for the answer. We just found out about endophytes in rye grass and the problems they cause livestock (which we would like to have). How would we change the crop from rye grass to some other pasture in case the pasture is loaded with endophytes. Candy

Candy,

If you are using ryegrass seed for pastures - or a pasture mix, this is endophyte free ryegrass. Ryegrass that is meant for lawns and turf is most commonly associated with endophytes. You can certainly obtain a pasture mix that is mainly tall fescue and orchardgrass.

Heidi is away on vacation for a week or so - I;m sorry I didn't catch your second question sooner.

Hi, it's Candy again. We just found out that the perrenial rye grass in our field is indeed full of endophytes as it was grown for turf. How do we transition the field to some sort of pasture grass for livestock organically WITHOUT using herbisides and how long might this take? Thanks!