Submitted to: Northeast Pasture Consortium Annual Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2019
Publication Date: 2/19/2019
Citation: Gonet, J.M., Goslee, S.C. 2019. Let it snow! Snow cover reduces freezing mortality in perennial ryegrass[abstract]. Northeast Pasture Consortium Annual Meeting Proceedings. p. 1.
Interpretive Summary: No Interpretive Summary is required for this Abstract Only. JLB.
Technical Abstract: Perennial ryegrass is a productive and palatable forage species, but its use in the northeastern United States is limited by its winter hardiness. New cultivars are more freeze-tolerant, but temperatures in much of the Northeast still regularly fall below the level that even the hardiest cultivars can survive. We used both growth chamber tests of freeze tolerance and small plot field studies of perennial ryegrass winter survival to understand current limitations on this important forage species. In the field, perennial ryegrass can survive low temperatures that were shown to kill it in the growth chamber, but only if there is enough snow cover to provide insulation. Climate change predictions show warmer winter temperatures, but still regularly cold enough to kill exposed perennial ryegrass. Reduced snowfall and fluctuating temperatures can further reduce survival in cold years, even as the average temperature becomes more favorable for perennial ryegrass.