- Large seed.
- Easy to harvest, handle and sow.
- Can be drilled into moist soil.
- Good emergence from depth, to 50mm.
- Relatively easy to establish on heavy, black cracking-clay soils.
- Vigorous seedlings.
- High growth rate.
- Tolerant of temporary waterlogging.
- Drought tolerant.
- Freshly harvested seed is dormant for 7-18 months.
- Less palatable than some other improved grasses, such as green panic and Bambatsi.
- Needs moderate to high fertility soil.
- Intolerant of continuous heavy grazing.
- Contains relatively high concentration of oxalate, therefore not suited to horses continuously grazing pure stands.
Stems: Stems are 30-200 cm high with hairy nodes.
Leaves: Leaves are flat or rolled, 10-60 cm long, 3-15 mm wide, tapering to a long fine point. Ligule is a fringe of hairs.
Seedhead: Seedhead is a dense, continuous false spike, 3-30 cm long, 8 mm wide (excluding the bristles).
Seeds: 560,000-960,000 seeds/kg.
Pasture type and use
A medium-term pasture and long-term if sufficient nitrogen fertiliser is applied. It is suitable for short-term pastures.
Where it grows
It is grown in areas with 500 -1200 mm/yr.
It is adapted to heavy clays to fertile loams.
It grows during the warm season and tops are killed by heavy frost.
Sowing/planting rates as single species
Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
It is sown from spring to late summer.
Fertiliser is not required for establishment on fallowed fertile soil.
A minimum of 50 kg N/ha/yr is needed to maintain stands.
300 kg/ha from each of two harvests per year may be produced from well fertilised stands with good soil moisture. Good seed production after the first year is dependent on applying a minimum of 100 kg N/ha.
Ability to spread
It only spreads by seed in fertile bare soils.
It exhibits minimal weed potential.
There are no known major pests.
There are no known major diseases.
It is killed by glyphosate and atrazine.
The growth of cattle grazing tropical pasture grasses, including purple pigeon grass, is limited by low dry matter digestibility, especially in winter. Supplementary nitrogen will increase feed intake in deficient situations.
It is not as palatable as some suitable companion grasses.
Live weight gain in pure stands is equal to or better than from other improved grasses.
It can cause bighead in horses continuously grazing pure stands due to high oxalate concentration.
|Australian Herbage Plant Cultivars
Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder's Rights Australia
Web links:Tropical Forages database (SoFT) - Purple pigeon grassGrassBaseTropical Grasslands SocietyPurple pigeon grass (QDPI&F)Purple pigeon grass - Agnote DPI-292 (NSWDPI)Purple pigeon grass - Agfact P2.5.21 (NSWDPI)
Author and date
Dr. Walter Scattini