Tropical Grasslands (1982) Volume 16, 170–180

PRODUCTIVITY OF FIVE SUBTROPICAL GRASSES ON A BLACK EARTH OF THE EASTERN DARLING DOWNS OF QUEENSLAND

J. MACKENZIE1, R. MAYER2 and W.J. BISSET3

1Queensland Wheat Research Institute, P.O. Box 5282, Toowoomba, Qld 4350.
2Biometry Branch, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Box 102, Toowoomba, Qld 4350.
3Agriculture Branch, Department of Primary Industries, Box 46, Brisbane, Qld 4001.

Abstract

Four subtropical perennial grass species and a perennial forage sorghum were compared for dry matter production and herbage nitrogen concentration at three levels of nitrogen fertiliser in a cutting trial on a cracking clay soil of the eastern Darling Downs. At 3 months after sowing, Sorghum spp. hybrid cv. Silk had considerably outstripped the perennial grasses in dry matter yield while Chloris gayana cv. Pioneer outyielded Panicum coloratum var. makarikariense cv. Pollock, Bothriochloa insculpta cv. Hatch and Dichanthium aristatum. Over the next 5 years Silk and B. insculpta were the best dry matter producers at each rate of fertiliser; D. aristatum was the lowest producer and had the shortest growing season.
Although inferior to Silk, C. gayana and P. coloratum in spring growth, B. insculpta exceeded all these in autumn growth. B. insculpta requires less nitrogen for growth than C. gayana and P. coloratum; Silk requires more nitrogen and in the nil fertiliser treatment suffered a reduction of stand. The high dry matter yields of B. insculpta were accompanied by a low herbage nitrogen concentration.
In a comparison of cutting frequencies in the fifith year, Silk consistently outyielded the others at the 8-weekly frequency whereas C. gayana tended to produce most dry matter at the 4-weekly frequency. D. aristatum was excluded from this comparison.

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