A new variety of panic grass, Megamax 059 was selected in Australia by the Future Farming Industry CRC, DAFWA and the NSW DPI. Its key benefits include superior growth characteristics including increased production, high persistence and cool season tolerance.
Megamax 059 was selected in Australia by the Future Farming Industry CRC, DAFWA and the NSW DPI. It is a new variety of panic grass and the first sub-tropical perennial grass variety selected for both tropical and sub-tropical Australia — with the field evaluation undertakenin both temperate WA and northern NSW. It was selected for superior growth characteristics including increased production, high persistence and cool season tolerance in comparison to other commercial sub-tropical grass cultivars (Megathyrsus maximus, syn. Panicum maximum is loosely tufted, erect, and rooting at the lower nodes.) Leaf blades are large with multiple tillering characteristics producing a high leaf to stem ratio.
- High quality feed
- Unrivalled persistence
- Excellent production potential
- Highly palatable
- Suited to grazing and cutting
- Adaptable to variable rainfall environments
- Early season growth
Variety Management / Agronomy:
All panic grasses require well drained soils and some form of rotational grazing to persist in the medium to long-term. P. maximum grows in most soil types providing they are fertile.
Megamax 059 responds rapidly to rainfall even after prolonged dry periods. Although drought tolerance varies among cultivars, Megamax 059 can tolerate extended dry periods and is tolerant of short term flooding by moving water.
Establishment - Seed can be drilled or broadcast at 4-6 kg/ha of quality seed, and being a small seed, should be planted at no more than 1cm deep. Soil – seed contact is important. The use of press wheels or, on non hard-setting soils rolling after sowing, will improve germination and establishment. Megamax 059 has exhibited improved establishment vigour compared to Gatton Panic.
Fertiliser - Megamax grasses require at least moderate fertility for long term persistence, particularly phosphate. Having enormous production potential, they will respond well to increased fertility inputs. N and P fertiliser is recommended at sowing, banded away from the seed. A maintenance fertiliser program is recommended to replace nutrient removed by grazing over time, particularly at the high stocking densities which can be sustained by such grasses. A good rule of thumb is 1kg P/DSE per annum. Response to N can be in the order of 100:1, such that 50kg N can result in an extra 5 tonnes or more of dry matter production, providing other factors are non-limiting.
Compatibility (with other species) :
Megamax 059 combines well with summer legumes, such as Desmanthus Wynn Cassia, Burgundy Bean, Glycine and Siratro. Persistence of these legumes over time will be dependent on grazing management, as these legumes may be less tolerant of grazing or may have differing management requirements to the grass. In mixed swards with less palatable species, Megamax 059 may at times, be preferentially grazed. Suitable companion grasses may include Bambatsi Panic, Premier Digit and Rhodes grass. Megamax 059 can be grown successfully under open forest or plantation due to shade tolerance.