Kasbah Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) is a hardy, deep-rooted perennial grass that is well suited to dry conditions and acid soils. It has good seedling vigour and early growth producing tillers which are a deep green colour and then become a flat bluish-green during the spring period. Kasbah has a semi-erect to erect growth habit and demonstrates early season maturity. Kasbah is classed as a Mediterranean type (summer dormant), which is more tolerant of harsh dry conditions compared to summer active types. It will accommodate a wide range of soils including better persistence on lighter soils compared to Porto. However, when placed in a higher rainfall environment, it will become less competitive compared to other varieties. Kasbahs maximum herbage production is during the autumn and winter periods and due to its early maturing nature, spring production can be lower compared to other varieties. It demonstrates excellent summer dormancy compared to other Mediterranean types such as Currie, which enhances long term persistence in low rainfall areas. Cocksfoot can be very persistent and become the dominant pasture if not carefully managed. Levels of Cocksfoot in the pasture mix should be monitored as animal performance may decline if it becomes the dominating species. It is suggested that Cocksfoots are used in mixtures with other grasses such as Atlas PG, Holdfast GT or Landmaster Phalaris and Fraydo Tall Fescue. Other companion species include Lucerne, White Clover and Sub-Clover.
- Kasbah Cocksfoot will easily establish, even on acid soils with little or no history of superphosphate. It is also a very competitive variety when establishing.
- Early to mid winter growth is very good, especially after a dry spring and summer.
- Growth is very good during winter, heading and plant senescence occurs up to one month earlier than Currie cocksfoot.
Diseases are generally a minor problem as grazing management will account for most situations. Leaf Rust (Uromyces spp.) can be a slight issue in more humid regions but grazing will control this.
Cocksfoot can be very susceptible to attack by underground Grass Grubs (Oncopera spp.) and Pasture Cockchafers (Aphodius spp.) and (Rhopaea Spp.). Areas known to have heavy infestation should be avoided.
Variety Management / Agronomy
Grazing - Cocksfoot plants are generally slower to establish and therefore careful management needs to be undertaken to ensure a successful establishment. Plants will benefit from light grazing 6–8 months after an autumn sowing, provided the root system has developed adequately. Light rotational grazing will encourage root development and allow it to compete with any legume which may have been sown as a companion species. Avoid overgrazing during the spring/summer period. If grazing with sheep, extra care must be taken as they can damage young and established crowns due to Cocksfoots semi erect growth habit. Cocksfoot pastures grazed with sheep should be rotated frequently, so as not to allow the sheep to graze heavily close to the crown. Heavy grazing while Kasbah is dormant will fragment the crown, causing the stand to thin out significantly.
Weed Control - As Cocksfoot plants are slow to establish paddock preparation is extremely important. Any winter grasses need to be controlled in the year before sowing. Spray topping in the spring prior to sowing is often effective. Failure to ensure proper weed management can result in either partial or complete failure of the stand.