Possible benefits from vegetatively established grasses

1.     Production
Under the right conditions (warm, moist, and with sufficient salinity to limit competition from other species) these vegetative grasses can provide good groundcover and good grazing in situations that would otherwise be unproductive and/or actively contributing to environmental damage. Pasture production from these grasses has not been measured across the range of soil/climate/salinity levels, in Australia. Some international research on sporobolus and distichlis appear encouraging, however only modest production should be anticipated from broadacre plantings.

2.     Conservation and amenity
The key to most of the amenity and environmental benefits from revegetating saline land is groundcover, and these vegetatively established grasses are particularly good at providing it! Green and growing plants on previously bare saline scalds are visually attractive and the groundcover reduces surface soil evaporation and salt build-up, protects the soil from erosion, and provides some basis for re-establishing floral and faunal biodiversity. Their amenity value is confirmed by their extensive use as turf grasses, and the primary motivation behind the use of these grasses is likely to be amenity/environmental rather than production and profit.

3.     $$’s
It is hard to comment definitively about the economic values of these grasses in a grazing system because few records exist. Because of the high cost of establishment, these grasses are best suited to small areas of saltland and are unlikely to be ‘profitable’ in the strict sense of the word.

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