Buffel Grass

Cenchrus ciliaris

 Key Features

 

  • Drought tolerance – regarded as most tolerant introduced grass in Australia
  • Persistent – a persistent, deep rooted and tufted perennial
  • Growth habit – although flower early, they will continue to produce new leaves and shoots during flowering

 

    Description:

     

    Buffel grass is the most widely planted sub-tropical grass on the fertile loams of central and northern parts of Australia. It is a hardy, palatable and very productive grass that responds quickly to moisture and fertility.

     

    Buffel grass has naturalised itself throughout large areas of Australia. It is a deep rooted, summer growing perennial with drought resistance and tolerance of heavy grazing. Buffel responds quickly to rainfall and prefers higher fertility scrub soil but will grow on a range of soils types. Generally not tolerant of waterlogging or flooding. Buffel grass is high in oxalate.

     

    Species Origin:

     

    Africa and India

     

    Varieties:

     

    American or USA is earlier maturing and shorter than Gayndah or Biloela. The heads has light purple coloration and thus distinguishable from these two varieties. It is more suited to the light and medium texture soils.

     

    Gayndah is intermediate between American and Biloela in maturity and plant height and is suited to the light or medium texture soils.

     

    Biloela is taller and later maturing than American and Gayndah and is more suited to the heavier soils.

     

    All three varieties are widely grown in Brigalow areas of Australia.

     

    Plant Characteristics:

     

    Drought tolerance – regarded as most tolerant introduced grass in Australia

    Persistent – a persistent, deep rooted and tufted perennial

    Adaptation – suited to tropical and semi-tropical conditions; quick to respond to light falls of rain, suited to 300mm – 900mm rainfall areas; difficult to establish on heavy clay soils and may not survive prolonged waterlogging

    Growth habit – although flower early, they will continue to produce new leaves and shoots during flowering.

    Uses – grown mainly for grazing or erosion control and can withstand heavy grazing pressure; can cause ‘bighead’ in horses (due to high oxalate at certain stag of plant growth).

     

    Seed Characteristics:

     

    Seeds are light and fluffy i.e. tends to adhere together – thus, coated seeds can provide better handling for seeding. Bare seeds average at 500,000 seeds/kg. Seed dormancy can occur, especially in freshly harvested seeds.

     

    Recommended Seeding Rate:

     

    Bare seed at 1-4kg/ha

    Coated seed at 2-8kg/ha

     

    Rainfall 300mm Planting Rate (kg/ha)

    Marginal dryland 3-5; Good Dryland 8-12; Irrigated 12-15

    Tropical Grasses

    Tropically adapted grasses come in a wide range of species adapted to varying conditions. Many summer crops grown today are annual tropical grasses. Perennial tropical grasses offer the same benefits in terms of growth response to moisture & temperature and dry matter production.