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Premier Digit grass is a highly productive, robust tufted perennial that is palatable and persistent. It has good persistence under dryland conditions and is well adapted to inland environments with low rainfall and winter frosts. Premier will grow on a wide range of soils from sands, scrub and medium clay soils, where its open sward makes it easy to coexist with legumes. Premier has good drought, fire and cold tolerance and its foliage is low in oxalate making it suitable for horses.
Africa, introduced into Australia from South Africa and re-selected for release as Premier. This species is related to Pangola grass Digitaria decumbens – a non-seeding type.
Growth habit – has been described as a very variable species with growth habit ranging from stoloniferous to tufted or rhizomatous. It as short stolons and Basal leaf sheaths are hairy or silky and rhizomes may develop knots. Morphologically it is similar to Jarra grass Digitaria milanjiana but can be distinguished from jarra through its smooth lower lemma. Persistent and very drought tolerant perennial – very aggressive and invasive for a range of soils and growing conditions and can tolerate soils with salinity problems.
Uses – suitable for grazing, hay or silage. It can withstand heavy grazing and may contain very low level of oxalates. The stoloniferous type is suitable for erosion control as it can produce a good ground cover.
Adaptation – grow best in rainfall between 450mm – 800mm. The seeding type performs will in light sandy soil (its natural habitat and the Pangola type prefers heavier soil.) Seeding types are suitable for areas with frequent drought and frost.
Seeds are small and are similar in size to panic grass – bare seeds at 1.5million seeds/kg, therefore coated seeds can facilitate seeding operations.
Seed dormancy – can be a problem in freshly harvested seeds, requiring seeds to be aged for 4-6 months.
Planting Rate (kg/ha): Marginal Dryland 4-5, Good Dryland 8-12, Irrigated 12-15.