Splenda Setaria was bred by the CSIRO as a hardy, palatable, high yielding, later maturing Setaria suited to the sub-tropical regions. Splenda is a very palatable to stock and the stems are readily grazed up to and after flowering. After grazing, stem nodes may sprout aerial tillers, and these may root and establish if the stems are trampled into the soil. Splenda may be heavily grazed without the risk of plant death. Suited to most soil types it is relatively frost tolerant and is very tolerant of waterlogging. Splenda Setaria produces a higher amount of dry matter, seed yield and forage quality. Compared to traditional setarias, Splenda is more palatable due to its softer leaves and stems.
Planting Rate (kg/ha): Marginal Dryland 2-6. Good Dryland 8-12, Irrigated 12-15
Africa, introduced into Australia as Splendida and Sericea.
Varieties - Splenda and Narok:
Both Norok and Splenda are very palatable and widely used for beef and dairy. Splenda was developed by CSIRO from a cross between splendid and Sericea, which resulted in higher percentage of fertile florets. It is a robust perennial with vigorous growth habit.
Narok resembles Splenda in many respects. However, it has been reported to withstand low temperatures of less than 3⁰c.
Growth habit – plants are tufted or tussocky and are characterised by flattened and often reddish-coloured leaf bases. It can grow up to 2m tall and can produce up to 18t/ha dry matter. It can remain persistent once established.
Uses – very palatable to livestock but may contain oxalate at certain stage of growth, thus affecting grazing. It combines well with legumes such as Glycine and Siratro and has been described as the most cold tolerant tropical grass e.g. Norok can withstand 3⁰c below freezing point.
Adaptation – Suited to medium rainfall areas.
Seeds are very small and fine – thus coated seeds will facilitate seeding operations. Bare seeds average at 500,000 seeds/kg.Seed production can be a problem due to sterile florets. Seed dormancy can be a problem, affecting germination and establishment