Bothriochloa bladhii ssp. glabra
- Palatable when young and leafy.
- Drought tolerant.
- Tolerates heavy grazing.
- Competitive with weeds.
- Establishes readily.
- Adapted to acid, infertile soils but also grows well on more fertile loams and clays.
- Effective groundcover to minimise erosion.
- Not adapted to high pH cracking clay soils.
- Slow seedling growth compared with vigorous grasses such as rhodes grass.
- Awned seed, difficult to harvest, handle and sow.
- Intolerant of flooding.
Stems: Culms largely unbranched, 1-1.5 m tall at maturity.
Leaves: Leaf-blades 20-30 cm long, 5-7 mm wide, tapering gradually from the base to a fine point. Leaves have a membranous ligule.
Seedhead: A panicle comprising up to 20, mostly simple, green to purplish branches arising from different positions. Seed has bent and twisted awn, 10-25 mm long.
Seeds: 1.2-1.9 million seeds/kg
Pasture type and use
Where it grows
It grows during the warm season and tops are killed by heavy frost.
Sowing/planting rates as single species
Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
No fertiliser is required for establishment on suitable soils although phosphorus may be needed for establishment of companion legumes.
It is tolerant of low soil nitrogen levels, competing well with native grasses in forest country, where other improved pasture grasses may fail. Established stands respond to application of nitrogen fertiliser.
Establishing stands with well developed secondary roots should only be grazed lightly to consume palatable weeds.
100-150 kg/ha seed may be obtained from nitrogen fertilised stands or on more fertile soils in first year.
Ability to spread
It spreads by seed and expands by short rhizomes.
Forest bluegrass has a low weed potential but it may replace ecologically very similar native grasses, pitted bluegrass and red grass, on sandy surfaced duplex soils.
No major pest known.
Rust may be evident late in the season but is of little concern in grazed stands.
It is killed by glyphosate and is tolerant of atrazine at low rate.
Quality declines with age, and more rapidly with the onset of flowering. Crude protein level in young leaf may be 10%, declining to below 5% in mature growth.
It is readily eaten by livestock in the leafy stage, and can tolerate heavy grazing. The strongly scented herbage does not taint milk or meat.
Annual pasture yields of about 7 t/ha DM are achievable and more in nitrogen fertilised seed crops. Cattle can gain an average 0.5 kg/hd/day, with a peak 1.25 kg/hd/day in late summer and a small weight loss in winter.
Author and date
Dr. Walter Scattini