EverGraze Action – Growing and using kikuyu in WA

This fact sheet provides information on the place, purpose and management of kikuyu in WA. Kikuyu is a creeping, subtropical perennial grass that forms a dense turf, is tolerant of continuous heavy grazing and is very persistent. Kikuyu grows rapidly in spring, summer and early autumn but is dormant in winter, at which time pasture production is driven by annual companion species such as subterranean clover or winter fodder crops.

Kikuyu has a deep root system (2-3 m where soil depth permits), is an efficient water-user and can dry out soils. It will tolerate waterlogging and is relatively drought tolerant. The growth habit of kikuyu helps protect the soil surface from erosion and stabilise soils likely to erode. Its creeping habit also displaces broadleaved weeds.

Mature kikuyu leaves are only about 65% digestible. Although sufficient for livestock maintenance and wool production, supplementation is required to grow livestock. Fresh, closely grazed kikuyu leaves can exceed 70% digestibility. Kikuyu is ideal to fill the autumn feed gap and reduce supplementary feeding requirements and/or allow increased stocking rates. For example, a kikuyu-sub clover pasture enabled stocking rates to be increased by more than 60% compared with a sub clover based annual pasture on the south coast of WA. For information on research conducted on kikuyu in WA, see the Albany Proof Site page.

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