EverGraze Action – Grazing phalaris for production and persistence

This fact sheet describes the place, purpose and management of phalaris. Phalaris is a winter-active perennial that has erect stems and short rhizomes. It is deeper-rooted than perennial ryegrass and cocksfoot. Therefore it is suited to drier and more drought prone areas.

There are two types of phalaris;

  • Prostrate, semi-winter dormant, summer dormant cultivars (eg Australian) slower to establish, less winter growth but more tolerant of set stocking than winter active cultivars.
  • More erect, winter-active, medium summer dormancy cultivars (eg Sirosa) easier to establish, higher winter production but require rotational grazing management for optimal persistence and production.

Phalaris changes from vegetative to reproductive growth after a period of 5-10oC and/or short days and then increasing day length. Once reproduction has been triggered, the plant diverts energy from leaf production to stem and seed production. Prior to seeding, the tillers undergo stem elongation, head emergence and flowering. While this is occurring, tillers also develop dormant buds.

Phalaris buds are full of carbohydrates. The key to phalaris production and persistence is managing these buds.

Buds develop when phalaris is in the reproductive phase – the further the plant goes through this phase the bigger and stronger buds will be.


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