Australian II (Phalaris aquatica) is a prostrate, semi-winter active variety, which forms thick dense tufts of wide blue-green leaves that are very palatable to sheep and cattle. It was selected as a superior replacement for Australian and Uneta. A significant advantage of Australian II is its ability to persist under heavy grazing in dry, acidic conditions. Australian II’s prostrate growth makes it well-suited to set stocking systems and it demonstrates superior grazing tolerance and persistence compared to other Phalaris varieties. It has excellent seedling vigour, which will assist in successful establishment. Once established, Australian II will tolerate periods of waterlogging and inundation. Australian II will extend the range of pasture species available to help combat soil degradation. Establishing a perennial pasture based on Phalaris will improve farm productivity compared to systems relying on annual grasses. Nitrogen produced by pasture legumes usually grown with annual grasses leaches down though the soil profile, taking nutrients with it, leaving acidic elements behind. The deep-rooted nature of Australian II Phalaris draws these nutrients back up along the soil profile to help prevent or slow down the onset of acidification. Another major benefit of the deep-root system of Phalaris is it improves persistence and productivity under drought conditions. It is also useful in reducing recharge zones and helps prevent dry land salinity.
Phalaris pastures can be seriously damaged by Blue Oat Mite (Penthaleus major), Red Legged Earth Mite (Halotydeus destructor), Field Crickets (Teleogryllus commodus), Pasture Scarabs (Seriecsthis spp.), Slugs and Snails. Appropriate management of these insects is vital for successful stands, particularly during the establishment period.
Australian II has been granted protection under PBR. Unauthorised commercial propagation or any sale, conditioning, export, import or stocking of propagating material of this variety is an infringement under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. Seedmark (Seed Technology and Marketing) has an exclusive licence for the production and marketing of Australian II.
- Prostrate Summer active cultivar
- ‘True to Type’ Certified Quality
- Tolerates waterlogging and mildly saline conditions
- Very persistent, suited to set stocking conditions
- A significant strength of Australian II is its ability to persist under heavy grazing in dry conditions
- Its prostrate growth makes it very well suited to set stocking systems and it demonstrates superior grazing tolerance and persistence compared to other Phalaris varieties
- It has excellent seedling vigour, which assists in successful establishment
Australian II has an early to mid season maturity and is 7 days later maturing than Santiago. An adaptable variety which grows on a wide range of soils. It has a high percentage of soft seed (24%) –Santiago (8.5%). It has an erect growth habit with high herbage and seed production making it an excellent ley farming option with dense regeneration. Australian II demonstrates excellent salt tolerance during key growing period compared to other species.
Disease issues are very rare amongst established stands of Phalaris.
Grazing of a newly sown pasture should be avoided until plants have become established. Grazing prior to effective establishment can cause plants to be pulled out reducing the population and pasture performance. Once established, Australia II will tolerate set stocking rotations and maintain plant density unlike other more erect Phalaris cultivars which perform best under rotational grazing systems. Many older Phalaris varieties have high levels of alkaloids which can cause Phalaris Toxicity (Phalaris staggers). New varieties such as Australian II contain lower alkaloid levels in the leaves and therefore provide a safer grazing alternative. However, in areas prone to Phalaris Toxicity plants should be grazed cautiously in the autumn and early winter. Australian II can be grown with other legume or grass species to help reduce the risk of illness in livestock. Phalaris Toxicity can affect sheep that are grazing on fresh growth after breaking rains. Stock are at the greatest risk when grazing on short, frosted plants, which mainly occurs during the autumn or the early winter period. To counter the potential problem, Cobalt bullets can be orally administered or by ensuring stock are not hungry when introduced to lush, green feed. The greatest risk to animals is when they are able to ingest a high level of herbage in a short period of time. Toxicity levels in the plant increases if plants are subject to stresses such as drought and frost.
Once stands are established it is recommended that you follow the points below to maximise the benefits and
persistence from your Phalaris stands:
- Lime acid surface soils if CaCl2 extractable Al is 8+ppm
- Sow Australian II rather than any other cultivar for set stock ability and long term persistence
- Apply superphosphate if Olsen P is 8ppm or less
- Graze winter active cultivars rotationally with 4–6 week spells in autumn–winter
- Set stock in spring
- Do not heavily graze new stems from summer regrowth
- Clean up stem residues in summer to increase clover germination and growth
- Do not graze too hard or too often after stem growth starts in spring, especially in a dry year.