Secale cereale L.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Cultivated for the grain, used to make flour, the importance of which is second
only to wheat. Canadian and United States whiskies are made mainly from rye.
Roasted grains substitute for coffee. Grains mixed with others are used for
livestock feed. As pasturage, crop grazed fall or spring and then allowed to
head-out and mature. Crop also used as green manure and cover crop, hay,
silage with crimson clover. Straw used as packing material for nursery stock,
bricks and tiles, for bedding, paper manufacture, archery targets, and mushroom
According to Hartwell (19671971), the grains are used in folk remedies for
cancers and tumors. Reported to be laxative (Duke and Wain, 1981).
Per 100 g, the grain is reported to contain on a zero-moisture basis (ZMB):
375382 calories, 11.814.6 g protein, 1.93.0 g fat, 80.584.4 g total
carbohydrate, 2.2 g fiber, 1.82.0 g ash, 4345 mg Ca, 377422 mg P, 3.44.6 mg
Fe, 1.16.9 mg Na, 524 mg K, 0 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.280.54 mg
thiamine, 0.230.25 mg riboflavin, 1.81.9 mg niacin, and 0 mg ascorbic acid.
Rye is generally considered a little less nutritious than wheat.
Ergot Poisoning may be a problem.
Tall, hardy, tufted annual grass, 11.5 m tall, with blue-green cast, culms
slender, erect, overtopping the foliage, glabrous except pubescent near the
spike, glaucous; leaves many, soft, 1.2 cm or less broad, smooth or slightly
scabrous, long-pointed; leaf-sheaths long and loose; ligule short and jagged;
spike terminal, 7.515 cm long, curved, much-awned, slender, compact; spikelets
with 2 fertile florets; lemmas long and narrow, tapering into awns, Prominently
keeled; kernel oblong, 0.8 cm long, light brown, narrowly grooved on face,
short-pointed, glabrous (Reed, 1976).
Reported from the Central Asian, Near East, and China-Japan Centers of
Diversity, rye, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate aluminum, anthracnose,
bacteria, disease, drought, fruit, fungi, high pH, hydrogen flouride, insects,
low pH, nematodes, poor soil, salt, sand, rust, virus, waterlogging, and weeds
(Duke, 1978). Many farmers put rye on their worst soils, since rye tends to do
better than other cereals under such conditions. Few cvs have been developed.
Intergeneric hybrid with wheat known as Triticale. Some varieties include:
Petkuser, Schlaustedt, Rosen, St. John, Abrussi, South Georgia, Dean, Mammoth,
White, Rimpau, and Virginia Winter. Sometimes divided into S. fragile
Blob., an annual from southwest Asia and S. cereale L., a wild perennial
form from southern Europe and central Asia, derived from S. montanum
Gus., grown in America. 2n = 14 (Reed, 1976).
Probably native to southwestern Asia, but now widely cultivated in the
temperate regions of the world. Grown in every state in the United States,
often where conditions are unfavorable for wheat (Reed, 1976).
Ranging from Boreal Moist to Rain through Subtropical Dry to Moist Forest Life
Zones, rye is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 2.2 to 17.6 dm (mean
of 103 cases = 7.9), annual temperature of 4.3 to 21.3°C (mean of 103 cases
= 11.1), and pH of 4.5 to 8.2 (mean of 88 cases = 6.4) (Duke, 1978, 1979). An
extremely hardy plant, often grown where other grains will not grow. Thrives
on infertile, submarginal areas; renouned for its ability to grow on sandy
Rye grows rapidly and vigorously from seed, giving a rapid cover crop useful
for erosion control or early pasture. Selected varieties are hardier to cold
areas than other cereal grains. Seed broadcast or drilled at seed rate of
4068 kg/ha. Sown in fall, winter, or spring, covered shallow enough to reach
soil moisture. Intercropped with wheat in some countries. Responds to
fertilization, but will grow on soils of limited fertility. Nitrogen and
phosphorus required on sandy soils. Usually given less favorable places in
rotations (Reed, 1976).
Harvested in early summer until fall, depending when it was planted. Directly
harvested with combine or from windrows when dry. Milling of rye is
essentially the same as that for wheat (Reed, 1976).
Grain yields in United States vary from 6752025 kg/ha, depending on variety
and cultivation methods (Reed, 1976). In 1979, the world low production yield
was 300 kg/ha in South Africa, the international production yield was 1,602
kg/ha, and the world high production yield was 6,923 kg/ha in Norway. The
residue coefficient, defined as the ratio of the weight of dry matter of
residue to recorded harvested weight, ranges from 1.20 to 1.95, the upper limit
determined by USDA experts. The residues are figured as straw and include an
additional factor of 0.25 for chaff (NAS, 1977a). South Dakota, with 26% of US
production, North Dakota (16%), Nebraska (10%), and Minnesota (9%), account for
most US production, averaging ca 18.2 q/ha. World production averages 34.2
million MT annually. The major producers, in order, are: USSR, West Germany,
Czechoslovakia, United States (mostly produced in North Central States),
France, Hungary, Spain, Netherlands, Argentina, and Turkey. In US, prices for
rye are lower than for wheat, competing as feed, not food (Reed, 1976).
According to the phytomass files (Duke, 1981b), annual productivity ranges from
0 to 45 MT/ha. A hectare of rye, yielding 1,258 kg, equivalent to 4,201,720
kcal, required the following inputs, machinery equivalent to 234,000, gasoline
equivalent to 30,327, diesel to 428,025, seed to 262,856, transportation to
33,667, herbicides to 17,576, N to 493,920, P to 30,000 for a total input
equivalent ca 1,500,000 kcal/ha. The output:input energy ratio was 2.75. Note
that even in this low-fertilizer requirement plant, N was the biggest energetic
input, at ca 1/3 the total energy input. Another calculation there, on rye
grown on summer fallow gave a rye yield of 2509 kg/ha for an output:input ratio
of 10.2:1, the highest US ratio cited in Pimentel (1980). (See Table 11)
Research reiterated by Palz and Chartier (1980) indicated that straw from
winter wheat, summer wheat, winter barley, summer barley, winter rye, and oats
all gave calorific values based on moisture-free dry matter of 17.0 (±5%)
MJ/kg, or based on air dry matter 15.06 (± 3.5%) MJ/kg. High N fertilization
raised calorific values by ca 425 KJ/kg. Increasing moisture content from 14
to 20% reduced calorific value by 9%. Since straw available as feedstock is
normally air-dry, a calorific value of 15 MJ/kg is assumed by Palz and Chartier
(1980) for all cereal varieties and species. The assumed grain straw ratio for
wheat is 1.23 barley is 1.45 oats is 1.16 rye is 0.07 other cereals is 1.10.
Elsewhere, Palz and Chartier assume 17.5 MJ/kg as the typical energy value for
the dry matter of herbaceous materials.
Rye is cross-fertilized, hence pollination is not a problem. The most serious
disease of rye is ergot (Claviceps purpurea). Other fungi known to
attack rye plants include: Alternaria tenuis, Anguina tritici, Ascochyta
graminicola, Calonectria graminicola, C. nivalis, Cercosporella
herpotrichoides, Cerebella andropogonis, Cladochytrium graminis, Cladosporium
herbarum, Cochliobolus sativus, Colletotrichum graminicola, Corticium solani,
Curvularia inaequalis, Dilophospora alopecuri, Dinemasporium graminum, Erysiphe
graminis, Fusarium acuminatum, F. avenaceum, F. culmorum, F. equiseti, F.
graminearum, F. heterosporium, F. nivale, F. orthoceras, F. oxysporum, F. poae,
F. roseum, F. scirpi, F. sporotrichiodes, Gibberella saubinetii, G. zeae,
Griphosphaeria nivalis, Helminthosporium inocuspicuum, H. sativum, H. teres, H.
tritici-repentis, H. tuberosum, Heterosporium secalis, Lagena radicicola,
Leptosphaeria herpotrichoides, L. herpotrichoides f. riticea, L. secalis,
Lophodermium arundinaceum, Macrophoma secalina, Marasmius ritici, Marasemia
graminicola, Naucoria cerealis, Nectria secalina, Ophiobolus r inis,
Olpidiaster radicis, Phialea temulenta, Pleospora trichestoma, P. vulgaris,
Puccinia ceronata, P. disperse, P. elymi, P. glumarum, P. graminis, P.
recondita, P. rubigo-vera, P. secalina, P. straminis, P. striiformis,
Pyrenophora relicina, P. trichestoma, Pythium aphanidermatum, P. aristosperum,
P. arrhenomanes, P. debaryanum, P. graminicola, P. volutum, Rhizoctonia solani,
Rhynchosporium e lis, Sclerospora secalina, Sclerotinia graminearum,
Scolecotrichum graminis, Selenophoma donacis, Septoria nodorum, S. secalis, S.
tritici, Spermedia clavus, Stemphylium botryosum, Tilletia caries, T.
contraversa, T. foetida, T. secalis, T. tritici f. secalis, Tuburcinia
occulta, Typhula graminum, T. itoana, Urocystis occulta, Ustilago hordei, U.
nuda, U. spegazzinii, U. tritici, U. vavilovii, Vetnovicia graminis, Wojnowicia
graminis. Bacteria isolated from rye include: Pseudomonas
coronafaciens and Xanthomonas translucens var. secalis.
Plants parasitising rye include: Cuscuta epithymum var.
vulgaris, C. pentagona, and Striga lutea. Virus diseases
include: Agropyrum streak mosaic, Barley false stripe, Barley yellow dwarf,
Maize streak, Red-leaf, Rice stripe, and Strait mosaic. Nematodes isolated
from rye include: Anguillulina pratensis, A. devastatrix, A. secalis, A.
dipsaci, Anguina tritici, Belonolaimus gracilis, B. longicaudatus, Ditylenchus
dipsaci, D. radicicola, Helicotylenchus dihystera, H. pseudorobustus,
Heterodera avenae, H. hordecalis, H. latipons, Meloidogyne arenaria, M.
incognita, M. incognita acrita, M. javanica, Merlinius brevidens,
Paraphelenchus pseudoparietinus, Pucephalobus leunatus, Pratylenchus neglectus,
P. penetrans, P. pratensia, P. tunidiceps, Radopholis similes, Rotylenchus
buxophilus, Subanguina radicola, Tylenchorhynchus claytoni, T. sylvatica,
Tylenchus hordei, T. polybyphnus, T. secalis. Some of the more important
insect pests of rye include: Barley thrips (Limothrips denticornis),
Aster leafhopper (Macrostoles fascifrons), Armyworm (Pseudaletia
unipuncta), and Apamea sordens (Ag. Handbook No. 165, 1960; Reed,
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 161. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
- Duke, J.A. and Wain, K.K. 1981. Medicinal plants of the world. Computer index
with more than 85,000 entries. 3 vols.
- Hartwell, J.L. 19671971. Plants used against cancer. A survey. Lloydia 3034.
- N.A.S. 1977a. Methane generation from human, animal, and agricultural wastes.
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
- Palz, W. and Chartier, P. (eds.). 1980. Energy from biomass in Europe. Applied
Science Publishers Ltd., London.
- Reed, C.F. 1976. Information summaries on 1000 economic plants. Typescripts
submitted to the USDA.
Last update Friday, January 9, 1998 by aw