Amidst the threat of thunderstorms, some 40 producers and advisors gathered last Friday for the tropical grass expo and launch of the booklet “Tropical Perennial Grasses for Northern Inland NSW” at Don, Gay and Jason Mack’s property “Mitiamo”.
Tropical perennial grasses have been the subject of current evaluation and research since the early ‘90s and this years expo focused on management and how tropical grasses are adapted to our variable climate.
Tropical grasses suit our rainfall with the winter period providing an opportunity for moisture build up over winter, however, legumes growing with the grasses can use much of this moisture in drier years.
A range of legumes both temperate and tropical are being grown with tropical grasses to assess their complementarities. The temperate legumes include: sub clover, birdsfoot trefoil, lucerne, arrowleaf clover and the tropicals legumes include: Wynn cassia, desmanthus and Leucaena. Tropical grasses require good nitrogen levels to maintain feed quality and production.
Carol Harris, Research Agronomist, NSW Industry & Investment, Glen Innes, has evaluated a range of genetic material, which will provide alternatives to the current green and Bambatsi panic and Rhodes grass types. These have been selected for cool season and frost tolerance and persistence on lighter soils.
There are four green panic lines going through for seed increase, the Bambatsi and Rhodes grass lines will receive further review.