Recently purchased property with about 15 acres in reed canary grass. With limited time with it, this is what I can tell you so far.
When I first looked at the property, the field had not been cut for years. Of what I found there (looked at it late fall or early winter) it looked to me like it was straw. That is what it turns like if left to grow too long. Once it is like this and overwinters, it falls over and forms mounds of dead matter.
This past spring, since the field had not been cut for years, it had some brush in it, plus all of the old growth that had fallen over. I decided the best thing to do was to simply brush hog it down to cut the new growth, and chop up the old growth. Now our timing for a first cutting of hay is usually mid to late June. I brush hogged this down prior to doing a first cutting of hay, so I would say I cut it down mid June. At that time, the new growth was already four foot high or better.
I intended to brush hog it down one more time in the fall, and see how it did. Well, with some tractor problems, I lost numerous bales of hay that had been cut, but couldn't be baled.
I was then scrambling to have enough hay for the year. I went over to this field, and found that the regrowth on this was quite good. I believe it was up about 18-24" this was mid to late august. It was not as stemmy as the first time I cut it down, in fact it was probably more leaf than stem. Cut it and baled it....ended up getting some of the chopped cutting raked into it, but not too bad. Got about 300 bales off the second cutting. The goats like it quite well.
From what I have read on this, I think these are my conclusions:
It grows well in damp areas (very well)
This needs to be cut down early (before heads form) if using for hay.
Problem is the balance of getting the field dry enough without having it be overgrown. This has become my "first field" to get down in the summer. If I can manage it to be dry enough.
There are pre and post '70's varieties, post being better feed quality. Since you are considering it, you will likely be getting a post '70's variety. More research on your part should show a good variety for your conditions/ uses.
My vet pastures his cattle on it.