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



    • 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


    Soil preparation

    Two important points:

    • 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.


    • 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

    • Smuts finger 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: Smuts finger, Rhodes grass, Panicum maximum en Anthephora pubescens (Botle brush grass)  1 kg each per ha for uncoated seed



    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...