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The potential of rye in Ireland

The potential of rye in Ireland

Richie Hackett, Teagasc, Oak Park

Rye is a minor crop in Ireland but there has been increasing interest in it over the past number of years. It can be used in animal feed, being suited for pigs and ruminants.  It is also used to some extent in the distilling sector and can be used for human consumption too. Rye has a number of potential advantages compared to wheat or barley. Recent work at Oak Park indicates that modern hybrid varieties have high yield potential, comparable to that of winter wheat. Rye is less affected by take-all than either wheat or barley, and has good foliar disease resistance although it is susceptible to mildew and brown rust.  In the past ergot susceptibility was an issue but it is of much less importance in modern hybrids. Rye has good nutrient use efficiency and has been shown to be more drought tolerant than other cereals. There are some challenges with the crop though. For example, rye is a tall crop, which increases the risk of lodging, usually by root roll rather than stem buckling.    It is also susceptible to slug damage. Currently markets are limited and growers should only contemplate growing it where they have secured a market