VNS Winter Rye


  • Cool-season annual bunchgrass
  • Grown all over the United States
  • Chosen when conditions are unfavorable for wheat
  • Most cold tolerant cereal grain used for wildlife planting
  • Tolerates low fertility and acidic soil better than any other small grain.
  • Do not confuse cereal rye with annual or perennial ryegrass – they are totally different plants.
  • Grows 2 to 4 feet tall depending on variety, grazing pressure and fertility.
  • Seed heads are spikes and leaf sheaths are hairy.
  • Leaf color if more blue-green and leaves are less erect than other small grains.
  • Nutritious foliage, 12 to 25 percent protein.
  • May reseed itself when mowed in August and produces a second-year crop mixed with its companion legumes.
  • Achieve greatest forage and seed production when soil pH is about 6.0.
  • Soil test for fertilizer recommendations.
  • Fewer diseases attack rye than other cereal grains.
  • Contributes organic matter
  • Reduces soil erosion
  • Enhances water penetration and retention


Some evidence suggest that rye could be exploited for weed control since residues of fall-planted, spring-killed rye reduces total weed biomass by 60 percent to 95 percent when compared to controls with no residue.


Typically planted in September in the North or October in the South. Spring planted rye should be planted as early as possible (February in the south and as soon as thaw in the north).


Seeding Rate

Mono: 90 – 120 lbs. / acre

Mixtures: no more than 60 lbs. / acre broadcast

Drill rate are roughly half the above rate.


When planting rye for deer, only plant mono when it is too late or too cold to plant anything else. Rye serves as an ideal late fall/early spring season cover crop that will germinate and grow in colder, poorer, more acidic soil. Otherwise, in the south mix rye with one or more legumes such as arrowleaf clover (10 lbs. / acre) and crimson clover (10 lbs. / acre). In the north or south mix rye with red clover (5 lbs. / acre), white clover (5 lbs. / acre), and Austrian winter peas (20 lbs. / acre). In the North, add Birdsfoot Trefoil (5 lbs. / acre). Also, compatible with wheat (30 lbs. of each per acre).

VNS Winter Rye

  • Returns only accepted within 30 days from purchase in original, unopened packaging. Return products with the carrier of your choice. 10% restock fee will apply. 

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