Signal Grass

(Urochloa decumbens)

Signal grass is a coarse stoloniferous plant with trailing stems that root at the nodes. Should be sown with other species not as a monoculture.

It is recommended to graze after 8 to 10 months or when plants are mature, i.e. going reproductive. If desired broadcast / sow any additional legumes in the first autumn after grazing then re introduce livestock to get seed to soil contact.

Implement a rotational grazing system. Graze at 25 to 30cm and leave a residue of 12 to 15cm. Do not overgraze over summer.

Signal grass key attributes

  • Signal grass is a deep rooted species that can form a dense ground cover once established.
  • Signal is highly palatable and can withstand heavy grazing pressure however it should be rotationally grazed to acheive the best production. It will respond well to N and P applications.
  • Summer active where soil mositure available and is generally quick to respond after the first autumn rains.
  • Signal grass can be sown across a wide range of soil types and can tolerate waterlogged conditions, however it has limited production over the winter period.
  • Note: Signal grass contains “steroidal saponins”, which in certain circumstances can cause photosensitisation where it is the predominant swarth component. Signal should not be sown as a monoculture.

Origin

Originally from the open grasslands of Uganda, Signal Grass, is a trailing vigorous perennial type that has gained in popularity over a wide range of country. It was introduced to Northern Queensland in 1936 and has undergone extensive trialing at the South Johnstone Research Station at Innisfail since that time.

Establishment

Its aggressiveness at establishment can make it difficult to maintain a legume in the pasture, however it does respond well to applications of Nitrogen. Signal Grass will withstand heavy grazing and has constantly out yielded Guinea, (Panic), grasses in dry matter and protein production trials.

Sowing Rate

Recommended sowing rates:

Signal grass should be sown in conjunction with other sub tropical grasses as this will provide better overall pasture production throughout the growing season. Standard sowing rate is 4 kgs/ha of bare seed.