- Native grass.
- Persistent under low soil nitrogen conditions.
- Provides less competition to companion legumes than other sown grasses.
- Establishes relatively easily on heavy cracking-clay soils.
- Very palatable to livestock.
- Easily ploughed out if land needed for annual cropping.
- Rapid early spring growth.
- Can be harvested from native pasture stands.
- Short term perennial and seeding and new plants required for long term persistence.
- Fluffy seed difficult to harvest, handle and sow.
- Slow seedling growth compared with many sown grasses and low production in the establishment year.
- Early maturity and low autumn feed quality.
- Not suited to acid sandy and other low fertility soils.
- Intolerant of waterlogging.
Stems: Stems are 30-80cm long, generally rather slender, typically 4-noded with channelled internodes and nodes with a ring of long erect white hairs. Stems are densely branched at the base and often from the upper nodes.
Leaves: Leaf sheaths are round, close to the stem and may be almost as long as the internodes. Ligules are short, membranous and ragged. Leaf blades are flat, 8-15 cm long, 2-4 mm wide, mid-green to bluish-purple, typically without hairs, but in some forms densely covered with white hairs and then the sheaths likewise.
Seedhead: Seedheads have 2-6 stalkless erect branches, 4-7 cm long and a silky-hairy appearance. Seed has a brownish, twisted hydroscopic awn about 2.5 cm long. Old stems often bear a remnant white tuft of seed head on the tip.
Seeds: 850,000 seeds/kg
Pasture type and use
A widespread component of native pastures in subtropical inland Australia on heavy soils. It colonises abandoned cultivation on these soils and on cleared woodland such as brigalow scrub. It invades improved pastures as soil nitrogen availability decreases. Very limited sowings from seed harvested from native pasture stands have occurred in inland southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. It is suitable for all types of grazing stock and for hay.
Where it grows
It is adapted on deep, fertile heavy textured soils of neutral to alkaline pH.
It grows during the warm season and tops are killed by heavy frost. Spring growth potential is greater than for many tropical grasses.
Grasses: purple pigeon grass, Bambatsi (both at low sowing rates).
Sowing/planting rates as single species
Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
It can be sown from late winter to late summer and best sown from August to October where annual weeds are minimal or in January to February if early summer fallow is required to minimise annual grass and broadleaf weeds before sowing.
No fertiliser is required for establishment on suitable soils. Established swards will respond to application of nitrogen fertiliser.
It has a low requirement for plant nutrients for stand self-regeneration from seed and persistence, with production usually limited by moisture stress. Suitable basaltic soils rarely need additional phosphorus but some nitrogen would improve production on run-down cropping land. Sulphur may be needed on some basalt soils if high rates of nitrogen are applied.
Periodic seeding every second or third year is required for stand persistence and can be achieved by rotational spelling of paddocks following good spring or early summer rain. It can be cut for hay yielding 2-5 t/ha DM depending on age of stand, soil fertility and rainfall.
It can be harvested with brush harvesters. Seed yield of 50-100 kg/ha may be achieved. Freshly harvested seed may have a high germination rate at harvest or a short period of dormancy.
Ability to spread
It spreads by seed, through wind dispersal, on animal coats and in mud on hoofs.
It has minimal weed potential and this valuable native grass is under threat from expanding cropping.
There are no known major pests.
There are no known major diseases.
It is killed by glyphosate and tolerant of atrazine.
It provides good quality feed when young and green. Quality drops on maturity to low levels in winter especially when tops are killed by frost.
It is very palatable while green and mature slender stems are more palatable than those of mature coarser grasses.
The carrying capacity on native bluegrass pastures is about one beast to 5 ha in the 600-700 mm rainfall areas of Queeensland. Carring capacity is more than double on pastures in first two years following sowing and where 100 kg N/ha is applied to older stands.
It has no known toxic effects.
|Scatta||Progressive SeedsPlant Varieties Journal|
Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder's Rights Australia
Author and date
Dr. Walter Scattini