Perennial Grasses

perennial grass info sheet - printer friendly

Variety Information

Rhodes Grass

Rhodes grasses normally end up a dominant part of the Sub-Tropical sward.  Rhodes grass can be propogated by seed but also produce runners that will root at the nodes and form new plants.  This running ability gives the Rhodes grass a great capacity for stabilizing soils and increasing the density of the sward.

Finecut Rhodes

  • leafy, extremely fine stemmed, early flowering diploid cultivar
  • fine leaf selection from Katambora it has improved establishment vigour, higher palatability and increased production
  • preferred by many growers in WA

Callide

  • vigouros 'giant' tetraploid type
  • late flowering and remains leay and palatable into autumn
  • increased vigour requires higher fertility in soils and this may inhibit production on the sandier soils
  • less drought tolerant

Panic Grass

Panic grasses are the quality component of our sub-tropical swards. Feed analysis shows that panic grass is great in energy and protein.

Gatton Panic

  • preferred variety as it establishes more reliably than Green
  • good first season yields
  • fewer management issues

Setaria

Intermediate for qualtiy adn quantity but offers some production through the colder months.Splenda is the more common variety in WA.

Signal Grass

  • Trailing perennial tolerant of heavy grazing.
  • Well adapted to a wide range of soil types
  • very responsive to nutrition which can be used as a tool to increase production through to the cooler months.
  • larger seed than other improves strike

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Establishing Sub-Tropical Perennials  

The ideal sowing time is between August 15-30, and only sow when there is a full profile of moisture.

Preparation

100% weed control is essential and is best acheived with 2 sprays.  

  • The first must be started 6-8 weeks prior to seeding.  A herbicide targeting broadleaves only is best and allows for continued grazing of the paddock. 
  • The next spray, about 1-2 weeks prior to seeding will be a knockdown and include an insecticide as well.  Contact your agronomist on best tankmixes to acheive the desired result. 

This sequence on spraying will help with maintaining some ground cover on the paddock to help against wind erosin issues.

Equipment

  • furrow sow with converted cultitrash or scalping points - there are contractors with modified gear available in the mid west
  • shallow seed placement 5-10mm
  • use press wheels
  • sow at slow speed 5-8km/h

Other tips

  • use fertiliser as a carrier for seed
  • purchase quality seed - watch for dormancy
  • monitor and control insects
  • kangaroo and rabbit management
  • no grazing for first 6-9 months

NACC funding is available to encourage perennial pastures establishment on farm.  Incentives include fencing, estblishment costs, watering points and industry membership, with a maximum up to $10,600 per site.

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