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Purple pigeon grass
(Setaria incrassata, formerly S. porphyrantha)

  • easy to establish on heavy black soils
  • drought tolerant
  • tolerant of temporary waterlogging
  • needs resonable fertility.

Purple pigeon grass cv. Inverell is an erect grass, growing to 1.5 m high, and spreading by short rhizomes.

It is drought tolerant, and suited to summer-rainfall areas receiving 500-800 mm annual rainfall, growing especially well on cracking clay soils, such as those of the brigalow region. Its leaf is cut by frost, but the plant persists well.

Purple pigeon combines well with snail or barrel medics, or with lucerne. Although well accepted by cattle and capable of putting on good weight gains, it is less palatable than some other grasses such as green panic as the leaves have coarse margins.

It has about half as much oxalate as setaria or buffel grass, but some graziers are nervous about using it as a sole feed for horses.

Purple pigeon is especially recommended for reliable establishment into the coarse crumb structure of the black cracking clay soils; it can be planted up to 5 cm deep into more moist soil, and should preferably be followed by a press wheel.

Purple pigeon is a prolific seeder, making the fairly large seed cheap; it is smooth and flows well through machinery. Seed from the Central Highlands should be certified free from parthenium weed.

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 03 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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