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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