Smutsfinger Grass

Smutsfinger Grass (Digitaria eriantha)

  • Well adapted to medium and low potential soils
  • Succesfull on soils with high clay content
  • Palatable until late in winter

    Requirements and uses

    • Areas with rainfall higher than 500 mm
    • Well adapted to medium and low potential soils
    • Successfull on soils with high clay content, but cannot withstand waterlogging
    • Mainly a pasture grass – utilized from mid summer and later
    • It is a sweet grass and keeps its palatability until late in winter – even after being killed by frost
    • Excellent as fodder
    • Good quality silage if its chopped fine enough
    • Invasion of Eragrostis can pose a problem for the lifespan of Smutsfinger grass

     

    Establishment

    • November, January and February best sowing months
    • Stop 8 weeks before the first frost is expected
    • Where weeds are not a serious problem, you can sow during September/October

     

    Varieties
    Irene: A diploid, tufted perennial with high palatability. Well adapted to most well drained soils and grows well in mixtures with Rhodes grass. Difficulties in seed production.

     

    Tiptop: A diploid, tufted perennial, selected from ‘Irene’ by ARC for seed quality, homogeneity of growth form (upright), early flowering, better leaf:stem ratio and rust resistance. It tolerates very cold winters and grows well on shallow, stony soils.

     

     

    Soil preparation

    • Soil surface must be dry. Germination will take place with first rains.
    • The subsoil must be wet. This will benefit if dry weather is experienced after germination.
    • The protein content and the digestibility also decreases with longer intervals, but the total protein/ha will be higher as an effect of the higher DM production.

     

    Utilization

    • Does not like heavy grazing
    • Prefer long rest periods
    • Should be grazed before piping for highest crude protein
    • Used in summer – CP about 10%
    • Used in winter – CP about 8%
    • Withdraw animals after December for winter usage

     

    Seed mixtures

    • Smutsfinger grass with Rhodes grass is 2 kg Rhodes + 4 kg Smutsfinger per ha
    • Works well with lucerne (in rows), bloating still a possibility
    • Four grass mix: Smutsfinger, Rhodes grass, Panicum maximum en Anthephora pubescens 1 kg each per ha for uncoated seed

     

     

    Specifications
    Sowing rate (uncoated)
    3 - 7 kg/ha
    Sowing rate (coated)
    12 - 20 kg/ha
    Subtropical Grasses

    Subtropical (warm season, C4) perennial grasses are traditionally grown in summer rainfall environments. However, they can be successfully grown in the Mediterranean environments due to a combination of drought tolerance and the mild winter conditions...
     

    Subtropical (warm season, C4) perennial grasses are traditionally grown in summer rainfall environments. However, they can be successfully grown in the Mediterranean environments due to a combination of drought tolerance and the mild winter conditions...
     

    Subtropical (warm season, C4) perennial grasses are traditionally grown in summer rainfall environments. However, they can be successfully grown in the Mediterranean environments due to a combination of drought tolerance and the mild winter conditions...