Killing winter rye with the crop roller has met with mixed
success by the three parties with whom I have conferred. At
what point in the growth cycle can one be assured that the
rye will be killed? What are you using for a backup in the
event a good kill is not obtained?
The experience you discuss is about what I hear from growers
across the country. In general, the lack of success in rye
kill is directly related to the grower’s lack of patience—that
is, they rolled too early. So your question “at what
point in the growth cycle should you roll” is a very
good one. I wait until the rye is in full bloom, with pollen
moving freely across the field. At that point, the rye should
kill and stay down. As a backup plan, I plant on 30-inch rows
and can cultivate one time late, just before layby. This is
an operation of last resort and rarely needed.