FIFTY YEARS OF RYEGRASS RESEARCH IN NEW ZEALAND
AbstractRyegrasses have dominated seed mixtures since the inception of pastoral farming in New Zealand largely because perennial ryegrasses are easily established, and persistent under a wide range of climatic and management conditions. Annual ryegrasses have vigorous seedling growth and can provide valuable high quality feed during the cool seasons. These virtues make ryegrass easily thk most important grass in New Zealand agriculture. This review traces the history of ryegrass use and development form the early days of bush burn mixtures to the present day array of bred cultivars Areas of research covered in the review include: (1) The selection and breeding of cultivars (2) Management effects on density and persistence (3) Physiology (responses to light, temperature and mineral nutrition) (4) Ryegrass diseases (5) Ryegrass pests (6) The ryegrass endophyte (7) Ryegrass herbage quality The concluding section examines the role ryegrasses are to play in diverse modern agricultural systems, and hence the goals for breeders.