Grasses

9 Examples of Increased Profit with Australian Native Grass Pastures

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I am assuming you are on this blog because you are interested in how to use and work with Native grass pastures either for sustainability, drought tolerance and year round feed. Maybe your interest is erosion control, how to build soil structure and health, increasing carbon storage through the deep perennial roots, or maybe it’s to assist in the prevention of laminitis if you have horses and other animals prone to this sometimes fatal disease.

Are you farming on brittle land with limited water resources and income for fertiliser and sowing of annual crops and superphosphate?

Are Native Grasses the quiet achievers?

Anyone who works on the earth has seen first hand the impact of increased temperatures and decreased rainfall on their pastures. There is an increasing interest in how to manage Australian native grass pastures by Holistic management, intensive close cell grazing, moving fencelines, smaller paddocks, and long rest periods between grazing.  Many people are now looking to people like Col Seiss Winner of  National  Landcare Champion of the Year 2014 and watching Alan Savory on Ted talks and Joel Salatin.

I learnt at the Murrumbateman Field days recently that properties with native grass pastures are now attracting a premium because they are drought tolerant and providing food throughout the year. That is a huge shift in thinking, but it’s not mainstream as yet.

Here are some interesting examples courtesy of Dr Meredith Mitchell at Rutherglen DPI.

Native pastures prove their value with Chris Mirams at Woomargama
Case study of increasing value of native pastures through management Ian Locke
Implementing whole farm strategies at holbrook with john keogh
Grazing management makes the difference by Judy and Chris from Griffiths Wangaratta

Paddock subdivision allows more strategic grazing by terry Hubbard from the Three sisters
Case of study with Janet and Stuart Morant from Tallangatta valley in Victoria

Research:

Higher stocking rates but lower animal performance on native pasture rotational grazing systems
Integration of native and improved pasture systems increases profit
Native pastures can be utilised profitably in ewe based systems

Australian native pasture seed online booklet

 For more info download this FREE  Australian native pasture seed online booklet from the pastures page of our website. 

 

Wallaby grass pasture ( Rytidosperma orAustrodanthonia sp)

Wallaby grass pasture ( Rytidosperma orAustrodanthonia sp)

 

OAKEY WHEAT GRASS

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Oakey Wheat (Elymus scaber) grass pasture

Buy OAKEY WHEAT GRASS

Found in all states but the NT, Wheat grass is a fast establishing, highly palatable grass with high green matter production. Great for pasture, soil stabilization and revegetation. It forms tussocks up to a meter in height, and is active throughout winter. Wheat grass is tolerant of frosts, drought and heat, and can grow in a wide range of soil types.

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Bob Myers interview – introduced vs native grasses for fuel-load and bushfire prevention

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Every summer in Australia, bushfires are a very serious matter that can claim lives, land and property. Having a fire safety and evacuation plan is essential in most parts of Australia. But what if we could control the fires before they have begun? We were privileged to have Bob Myers, founding president of the Native Grasses Resources Group in South Australia and native plant grower and breeder, visit us here at NativeSeeds and spend some of his time doing an interview for us. In this section of the interview, Bob explains how introduced grasses can contain up to 1300% more fuel load for bushfires than our beautiful Australian native grasses.

Windmill grass

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Chloris truncata

Distribution

Windmill grass grows in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, parts of Queensland and throughout New South Wales, except for the south coast.

Description

Windmill grass can be either annual or perennial and forms a rounded tussock usually less than 50 cm tall. The stems are smooth with 2–3 nodes towards the base which may form roots at the nodes. These nodes often give rise to roots enabling the plant to spread across the soil surface. The leaves are flat, without hairs and rough to the touch. They are up to 14 cm long and 2–5 mm wide. Flower heads have 6 to 9 spikes all spreading out from a common point forming an umbrella shape.

Habitat/Soil

Windmill grass is found on various soil types from sand to clay-loams. It has a wide range of tolerances from mildly acidic to alkaline soils.

Tolerances

  • High heat tolerance
  • High drought tolerance
  • Low frost tolerance

Sowing

Seed should be sown into a weed–free seed bed in early spring. It is preferable to lightly scratch or scarify the soil to create niches for the seed to lodge in. The seed should not be sown deep, but would be best broadcast over the surface then incorporated into the top 5mm of the surface by dragging over a set of harrows or similar equipment.

Uses

A valuable soil stabiliser. This grass is a useful fodder crop for other warm season perennial grasses as it establishes quickly with minimal rain needed. Windmill grass can produce valuable and palatable fodder when it is actively growing. Chloris truncata is suitable for turf as it is shorter than Chloris ventricosa with a maximum height of 30 cm. As it never grows very tall, this grass has low mowing requirements. This makes it useful for roadsides, easements and for passive recreation. It can also work well in horticulture for areas that need a summer active ground cover that will not grow very tall.

Wheat grass

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hay & pasture mix

Elymus scaber

 

Varieties

  • Oakey
  • Murray (LIG 473)

Distribution

Wheat grass is found in all Australian states except the Northern Territory and is more common in districts with cool winters. In mature stands, wheat grass often forms only a small percentage of the sward probably owing to its high palatability at certain times of the year. Habitats where it can be found are plains grasslands, redgum woodland, and dry sclerophyll forests.

Description

Wheat grass is an all year green perennial grass with a tussocky habit. The leaves are narrow, rough along the edges and have a half-twist. It grows from 30-100 cm high and flowers from late spring to summer. The seedheads are quite long (up to 1.5 m) and can become lax and fall over. Seeds have one long awn per seed, but often remain joined together as a group even when they have dropped from the stem. The plant remains green throughout the summer as long as there is some soil moisture.

Habitat/Soil

Wheat grass is found on various soil types from sand to clay-loams. It has a wide range of tolerances from mildly acidic to alkaline soils.

Tolerances

  • High frost tolerance
  • Moderate drought tolerance
  • Low salt tolerance

Sowing

Wheat grass is easier to establish than other native grass species. The seedheads should be clipped into individual florets, each containing one seed. Preferred depth for sowing is around 10 mm in autumn to winter. With moist conditions, the seed takes from 7-10 days to germinate. The seedlings are hairy and bluish in colour. They progress rapidly through to the 5-7 leaf stage.

Sowing rate: Sowing rates: 5-10 kg/ha

Uses

An attractive useful grass for both pasture and revegetation. Revegetation is one of the best uses because Wheat grass establishes rapidly and has high seedling vigour. It can be used successfully as a cover crop to accompany a slower growing grass such as Wallaby grass. Pasture – it occurs naturally with other grasses and is one of the first to start growing in spring, providing early green feed. It has high to moderate feed value.

Varieties

Oakey

Oakey Wheat grass was developed by Dr Michelle Murphy while studying at the University of New England. It is drought resistant, frost tolerant and has strong winter and early spring growth. Oakey Wheat grass is best used for revegetation or pasture.

Murray (LIG 473)

This grass arose out of the successful LIGULE program. It was developed by the NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) through research funded by DLWC and the Meat and Livestock Association, the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation and the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Murray (LIG 473) was selected from wheat grasses occurring in the wheat-sheep zone and is better adapted to warmer and drier conditions. It has moderate drought tolerance.

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Weeping grass

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Microlaena stipoides

— Looking to buy Weeping grass? Click here to go straight to the product page! —

Varieties

  • Griffin
  • Ovens (LIG183)
  • Bremmer (LIG 704)
  • Burra
  • Tasman

Distribution

Weeping grass is an Australian native grass which is widely distributed throughout the damper zones of eastern Australia from Cape York to Tasmania. It is also found in the wetter districts of South Australia and in the south-west of Western Australia.

Description

Weeping Grass is a cool season tufted perennial grass which produces year round green growth. It spreads very slowly by short rhizomes under the soil. There are several different forms that vary in height. The seedheads are weeping and ripen from December to May in southern Australia. The seeds have awns up to 20 mm long that are rough and the seeds tend to cling together making them somewhat difficult to handle.

Habitat/Soil

Suited to a wide range of soil types with a pH of less than 6.0, Weeping grass survives well in strongly acidic soils. Some types have a broad range of pH adaptation including alkaline soil, but most prefer acidic soils.

Tolerances

  • High frost tolerance
  • High drought tolerance
  • Medium salt tolerance
  • Shade tolerant

Sowing

Begin with a weed free seed bed. Sow seed 10-15 mm below the soil surface. Germination may take from 10-14 days in spring or summer or considerably longer in cooler conditions.

Sowing rate: 1kg/100m² for turf 5-10 kg/ha for revegetation and pasture.

Uses

This is an extremely versatile and useful grass with a wide range of applications. Because of its attractive appearance, its persistence and high grazing value, as well as its tolerance of shade and acid soils, this grass has a wide range of uses. It is suitable for use on roadsides, municipal parks and gardens requiring little maintenance, domestic lawns, golf course roughs, pastures in acid soils of moderate to high rainfall, revegetation in conjuction with other native grasses and river and stream edges to reduce erosion.

Varieties of Wallaby grass species supplied by Native Seeds

Griffin

Griffin Weeping grass is ideal for a high quality lawn and for passive recreation. Once established, it has low maintenance needs and requires minimal watering. It grows in shade. This variety was developed by the University of New England specifically for lawns.

weeping-grass-lawn

Weeping grass var. Griffin – Nelson approves!

Ovens (LIG183)

Ovens Weeping grass was selected from a grass population that originated in the wheat / sheep zone near the NSW Victorian border and has considerable heat and drought tolerance. It is a larger plant which produces considerable dry matter of high grazing quality. It is the fastest germinating and establishing variety of those Native Seeds is producing. It was developed by the NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) through research funded by DLWC and the Meat and Livestock Association, the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation, and the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

weeping-grass-lawn-full-height get get1 get2

Bremmer (LIG 704)

This grass was also developed in the LIGULE program that gave rise to the Ovens variety. It was selected from a grass population that originated in the medium rainfall zone where grazing is the principal activity. It is an upright plant with medium textured leaves and a strong tolerance to acid soil conditions. It is more stout than Ovens and a very good complement to it when sown together.

Burra

Burra Weeping grass is a useful all round grass. It is deep green in colour, is tolerant of highly acid soils and has a high drought tolerance. It can be used for lawns or for revegetation.

Tasman

This variety was bred by Native Seeds especially for the turf and amenity market in the cooler climates of Australia. It is a deep green colour, finely textured and has dense foliage. When fully established, it is very hardy and can withstand hot, dry conditions. Native Seeds expects to have seed of this variety available from 2006.

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Warrego Grass

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Paspalidium jubiflorum

Distribution

Warrego grass occurs broadly across Australia as a long-lived perennial grass. It is usually found on the heavier soils of higher fertility, especially those that are associated with either permanent water or with occasional flooding. It is frequently found in dense stands following summer inundation through low-lying areas.

Description

It is a long-lived perennial grass with upright growth and is also known to produce short rhizomes to give rise to ?daughter? plants. It will grow to around 1 metre high with quite thick foliage up to around half the plant height. It flowers in mostly in autumn following heavy summer rainfall and seedheads are very narrow with the seeds held tightly against the central spine of the seedhead.

Habitat/Soil

It is associated with heavier soils and is not commonly found on sandy soils. It seems to be able to grow under a wide range of soil pH conditions and is more defined by its close association with heavier soil types subject to inundation or high soil moisture.

Tolerances

  • Moderate frost tolerance
  • Waterlogging tolerance
  • High heat tolerance
  • Will be grazed out if subject to uncontrolled grazing

Sowing

The seed is relatively easily cleaned and can be sown through any small seed box. It flows easily if cleaned down properly. Seed should not be sown any deeper than 5 mm but does require some soil over the top of the seed. Sowing rates ? 3 to 6 kg per hectare for pasture and revegetation.

Uses

A very useful grass for fodder as it provides excellent quality feed highly sought after by stock. Indeed very early commentary on this grass by Turner (1880) is ?pastoralists very justly hold this grass in much esteem, and many consider it is one of the best that grows in the interior?.

Wallaby grass

Categories:

Rytidosperma spp.

A beautiful grass for lawns, pasture and revegetation.

Wallaby grass can come in a variety of sizes ranging from Oxley Wallaby grass – which grows to a maximum of about 30cm tall – to much larger varieties reaching over a metre in height.

Wallaby grass requires very little maintenance once established. It’s long roots allow it to absorb plenty of nutrients from the soil and survive periods of drought and high heat.

Oxley Wallaby grass (Rytidosperma geniculatum) is perfect for lawns as it’s slow-growing and requires very infrequent mowing.

The taller varieties such as Hume Wallaby grass (Rytidosperma richardsonii) are highly palatable grasses for pasture and contain a low amount of non-structural carbohydrates making them very safe for horses. We use Wallaby grass in our Gallop Horse Pasture seed mix to help prevent laminitis and founder in horses and ponies.

Wallaby grasses are:

  • Low in NSCs to prevent laminitis
  • Highly palatable
  • Self-fertilising
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought, heat, acid soil and frost tolerant

Why wait? This is one of Australia’s best grasses for any application. Order Wallaby grass from our online store today by clicking this link.

Call us now to discuss your seed requirements on 1300 4 73337 or visit our online store to buy seed TODAY!

Tussock grass

Categories:

Poa labillardieri

Distribution

Poa labillardieri is found predominantly in the south-eastern regions of Australia from north of Brisbane to the Adelaide Hills in red gum woodland, dry sclerophyll forest and riparian scrub.

Description

Poa labillardieri is a dense perennial tussock grass with long, slender, soft, greyish-green or blue-green leaves in a weeping habit. Depending on aspect and soil, Poa labillardieri grows from 30 to 80 cm tall. Delicate plume like flowerheads in spring to summer extend above the foliage up to 1.2 metres. This is a very graceful attractive grass.

Habitat/Soil

Poa labillardieri prefers moist well drained soils, but will grow on slightly dry soils. It is not very well suited to growing on harsh shallow soils.

Tolerances

  • Tolerates moderate salt winds
  • Tolerates full sun, but prefers dappled shade

Sowing

Poa labillardieri grass can be sown as seed direct into prepared soil in autumn or winter and will germinate readily if there is adequate soil moisture. Growth will be slow initially and increases through the spring.

Uses

Because of its attractive form, Poa labillardieri is good for landscaping either as individual contrast plants or in massed plantings. It can also be used as fodder for grazing animals. While the volume of production is high, the quality of the fodder is not high.

Tall Windmill grass

Categories:

Chloris ventricosa

Variety: LIG 548

Distribution

There are several species of Windmill grass, which are widely distributed throughout southern and eastern Australia. The best known of these are Chloris ventricosa and Chloris truncata. They both occur in dryland grasslands and woodlands and principally on heavier soils.

Description

Tall Windmill grass is a summer growing perennial which lives for several years. The plant is bunched in habit and produces green foliage for much of the year. The leaves are hairless and the grass produces horizontal stems (stolons) which may form roots at the nodules. Distinctive windmill shaped seedheads form at the end of tall stems from summer to autumn. The seedheads have 3-7 spikes that are 4-10 cm long. When low temperatures occur in winter, this grass commonly enters a dormant period.

Habitat/Soil

Tall Windmill grass grows on a wide variety of soils, but prefers heavier rather than sandier types.

Tolerances

  • Low to moderate frost tolerance
  • Excellent drought tolerance
  • High heat tolerance

Sowing

Seed should be sown on or just below the surface from 2 to 5 mm and no deeper than 10 mm. Tall Windmill grass is best sown in the warmer months when air temperatures are consistently above 25°C. Germination time is from 7 to 10 days. An early spring sowing enables seeds to use available moisture. Sowing rates: 1-5kg/ha

Uses

Tall Windmill grass is often used as a primary establishment grass to hold soils together whilst other more long-term grasses become established.

Turf – Tall Windmill grass can tolerate regular mowing to form turf for amenity purposes, although it may not last for many years under these conditions.

Pasture – This grass has moderate forage value and is readily grazed by stock during summer.

Landscaping and site rehabilitation – when used as the initial soil-binding grass. Tall Windmill grass can be used with grasses such as Kangaroo grass and Redgrass.

Varieties

LIG 548
This variety was developed by the NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) through research funded by DLWC and the Meat and Livestock Association, the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation and the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. LIG 548 originated from plants collected in the wheat-sheep zone. It is tolerant of high summer temperatures and low/intermittent summer rainfall. It establishes easily from spring sowing and is highly sought after by stock for summer grazing.