Sow tropicals this spring

What you need to know

Tablelands Telegraph – October 2021

Clare Edwards, Senior Land Services Officer, Pastures

There has been increasing interest in introduced tropical grass pastures over the last few years. Many producers in the Mudgee area have been trialling small areas of these types of pastures, so I have had many enquiries on where these pastures might fit in producers’ landscapes and how they might be beneficial to their animal enterprises.

Introduced tropical pastures are not new in the area. In a recent tropical pasture survey, I was able to examine some digit pastures that were 15-20 years old and consol lovegrass paddocks planted 30 years ago. Often, these paddocks were sown to reduce the weed issues such as the summer growing introduced weed spiny burrgrass or onto paddocks that had been farmed and consequently had little remaining grass species.

More recently, landholders have been considering tropicals for a range of different reasons, such as minimising vegetable matter in wool, seed availability, weed issues (including blue heliotrope, khaki weed, African lovegrass and cineraria), suitability for lighter soils and the potential to give good groundcover. Overall, the ability for these pastures to respond to summer rainfall, their drought tolerance and potential to fill feed gaps were the main reasons why producers were using these pastures.

If you are thinking about sowing tropicals this spring-summer, here are my top 5 considerations.

  1. What is your current pasture or crop?
  2. Preparation – Weed control
  3. Soil moisture and the likelihood of follow-up rain
  4. Soil temperature
  5. Sowing – seed depth and seed quality

/Public Release. View in full here.