Management consideration for sub-tropical grasses

1.     Establishment
Spring (or even summer in some regions) sowing is best for the sub-tropical grasses, at least for non-saline situations where most experience exists. However, if these sub-tropical grasses are sown as part of a shotgun mix, compromises will need to be made between the needs of the different species, some of which might require autumn sowing. This makes sowing time for saltland mixture problematic and local experience would be valuable.

Both species have a strong ability to spread vegetatively and thicken up even if initial establishment is patchy.

2.     Management and grazing
Kikuyu likes heavy grazing to prevent a mat of unpalatable stolons developing. It is a challenge to find companion species that can also stand such heavy grazing and competition.

The grazing management recommendations for Rhodes grass are similar to the temperate perennial pasture grasses. Once established, and especially in reasonably fertile situations, Rhodes grass can be set stocked but it is very suited to rotational grazing and such an approach is recommended on saline sites where maintaining groundcover is at least as important as forage production for livestock.

3.     Animal nutrition
Where these sub-tropical grasses with low salt tolerance can be used on and around saltland, they have the great advantage of producing green feed over summer, which can be in short supply.

The sub-tropical grasses are not salt accumulators and therefore will be nutritionally similar on non-saline land and land affected by low salinity.

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