Cultivated rye (Secale cereale) is believed to have originated from either S. montanum, a wild species found in southern Europe and nearby parts of Asia, or from S. anatolicum, a wild rye found in Syria, Armenia, Iran, Turkestan, and the Kirghis Steppe. Rye was found as a weed widely distributed in wheat and barley fields in southern Asia. It apparently had coevolved with wheat and barley for over 2,000 years until its value as a crop was recognized. Rye was brought to the western hemisphere by the English and Dutch who settled in the northeastern areas of what is now the United States. The average production in the United States in 1987-89 was about 15.9 million bushels on some 2.3 million acres. The leading states in rye production are South Dakota, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Minnesota. In 1930 Minnesota grew 7.2 million acres of rye for grain, while in 1989 there were 32,000 Minnesota acres harvested and Wisconsin harvested rye from 6,000 acres. The average yield in 1920 was 17 bushels per acre, while in 1989 it was 34 bushels in the Upper Midwest.
Meg Moynihan, Principal Administrator
Minnesota Farm Opportunities
Ag Marketing & Development Division