WA Southern Perennial Pasture Mix
Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) is a mat-forming perennial grass that spreads by underground stems. With a root system of up to 30 – 40cm on regularly grazed pasture, Kikuyu is tolerant of trampling, holds the soils and responds to high manure input. It is moderately drought tolerant and is highly productive during periods of high humidity. Kikuyu can tolerate some waterlogging and moderate salinity levels. It can tolerate soil pH as low as 4.5. Grows best in temperatures between 15 - 25°C but will tolerate up to 40°C. Kikuyu is very effective for erosion control, suppresses weeds, survives long dry periods, is highly persistent and responds well to nitrogen fertiliser in a warm season.
Reclaimer Rhodes Grass has been bred from the earlier collections of Finecut and Katambora and selected for its aggressive establishment ability and increased number of growing points providing ground cover quicker than other varieties, making it ideal for erosion control. Reclaimer Rhodes has increased tolerance to saline conditions and could remain productive in saline soils up to 10 dS/m once established. Reclaimer Rhodes has attributes similar to Finecut with finer stems, increased palatability and excellent hay attributes. Reclaimer Rhodes can be sown where grazing, silage and hay are required.
Gatton Panic Grass is a medium height bunch grass variety of guinea grass similar to Green Panic. Gatton Panic has broader dark green leaves and smooth stem nodes and will establish across a wide rainfall zone. Gatton Panic will establish more easily than other panic grasses and can give very good first year production. Gatton Panic can be grown on lighter soil types but requires good soil nutrition to persist.
Narok Setaria is a robust perennial leafy forage grass that can grow up to 1.8 meters in ideal conditions. Leaves are bluish grey green in colour and up to 1cm wide. Narok Setaria was selected for increased winter production and frost tolerance. Narok Setaria is suited to a wide range of soil types ideally with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. It requires good soil nutrition to achieve high dry matter yields. Narok Setaria responds well to nitrogen fertiliser and is relatively frost tolerant and can stand some water logging.
Note: Setaria species have low sodium and high oxalate content therefore should not be grazed by horses where it is the sole species.
Once seeded shut the gate and do not graze until plants are well established. Plants must be well anchored and not able to be pulled easily from the soil. (Especially important with horses). This may be 8 to 10 months after sowing and most likely after the first autumn break.
After the first grazing has been completed move to a rotational grazing system where possible. Perennial pastures need a longer spell between grazing than temperate pastures to grow the herbage (biomass) to achieve the best production outcome. Like temperate grasses, perennial / sub-tropical grasses will increase the below ground root mass as the above ground leaf mass accumulates, increasing the accumulation of water soluble carbohydrates, (energy plants use) for later use to grow more biomass. By adopting a rotational grazing system using the height suggestions below as a guide, the retention of biomass after grazing and the subsequent root mass retained will act as a reserve to kick start the next period of leaf growth.
Recovery from grazing will vary considerably depending on the time of year, biomass retained after grazing, soil moisture and plant nutrition. Once rotational grazing has been started a suggested guideline on grazing height for sub-tropical / perennial grasses is as follows: Going in at 25 to 30cm. Graze down to a residue of 12 to 15cm.
It is important to reduce grazing pressure over summer, (unless there is adequate moisture for plant growth), or when seed set is occurring. This enables the potential for some plant recruitment through seed set.
Where practical remove weed burden before sowing. Sow when soil temperatures are 18° Celsius and rising. Sow no deeper than 2cm.
Do not overgraze over summer.
Recommended Rainfall Rate: 300mm+
Recommended Sow Rate: 4 to 8 kgs/ha.