Rhodes Grass

The approaching weekend rain, and the heading of the Oat crop meant it was time to plant the final stage of the ground and perennial cover crop. I had decided that the best option was to plant an easy to manage grass cover that would minimise erosion, and keep the orchard tidy. After speaking to the local pasture expert, I decided to use Rhodes grass. After mulching the Oats, then preparing a good seed bed, I sowed 2.5kg of Rhodes grass, mixing it with granulated manure to help with the spreading, then harrowed it over in anticipation of a good drop of rain. (we ended up with just over 50mm in 48hours.)

Rhodes grass is a summer perennial grass, it requires a summer dominant rainfall of at least 500mm annualy. It should be sown shallow and ideally into a good seed bed with some subsoil moisture.

Advantages

* Easily established.
* Spreads by runners.
* Moderate tolerance of salinity.
* Adapted to sandy acid soils of moderate acidity.
* Good competitor for weeds such as spiny burr grass.

Disadvantages

* Poor tolerance of water logging.
* Does not tolerate extreme soil acidity and high exchangeable aluminium levels.

Rhodes grass is adapted to a range of soils, including moderately acid sandy loams through to medium clays.

This is the first crop I have completely sown myself, in the past I have used contractors to disc plow, then harrow and prepare the seed bed, then sow the crop. I did have some help from a neighbor, and borrowed a bit if equipment to to finish the job off.

I am hoping for an easy to manage, mow and self sowing crop that will continue to keep the local mob of kangaroos fed and happy.