Rye is closely related to wheat and barley. It grows in temperate climates and is the most winter hardy of all cereals.
Rye is usually grown for its grain, which can be used to make dark (sometimes almost black) rye bread, but can also be used as a fodder crop.
Basic information and facts
Mostly produced in Europe, with its highest production in Russia, Poland and Germany.
Climate and weather:
Grows in temperate climates. Winter rye is planted in autumn and grows very slowly during winter. It is more tolerant of frost and drought than wheat.
Rye is a cross-pollinating crop.
Winter rye is a biennial type of rye planted in the fall. It grows during warmer days of the winter and will flower in the next spring. Flowering in rye is induced by 14 hours of light in spring. The less common summer rye is an annual crop, which flowers later.
Type of soil:
Can grow in soils of low quality and is more tolerant to poor soils than wheat.
Can be planted in rows about 15 cm apart, at a rate of 60 to 120 kg/ha.
Propagated by sowing the seeds.
Rye is very susceptible to the ergot fungus (Claviceps purpurea). Consumption of grains that are infested with ergot can cause serious health problems such as miscarriage or convulsions.
In the past harvested by hand. Nowadays it is usually harvested and threshed in one operation with a combine harvester.
Grown as a grain and as a forage or fodder crop. It can be used to produce rye flour, rye bread and rye beer. Some types of whisky and vodka are made of rye. Sometimes it is grown as a cover and green manure crop.
Proverbs and Quotes
- In July, shear your rye.
Did you know that?
- Black rye bread is called pumpernickel.
- For bread making, rye is usually mixed with 25 to 50% wheat flour.
- Triticale is a hybrid of wheat and rye.
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