Institutional collection from Zimbabwe, introduced as Brown Buffel Grass. Culms to about 1.5 m, almost glabrous, more robust than Petrie with broader and longer leaves. Inflorescence 18-20 cm long, 15-18 cm wide at the lowest primary branch, lower branches are usually whorled; spikelets 2.6-2.9 mm long; 1.4 million seeds/kg. Adapted to subtropical and tropical areas receiving between 760-1,000 mm of rain annually (similar to Petrie). Has a longer growing season and appears also to utilise soil nitrogen better than Petrie. Seed yields about 100 kg/ha.
- Name: Gatton
- Category: Panic Grass
- Rainfall: 550mm+
- pH: 5.5 - 8
- Maturity: Late
- Soil Type: Medium to Light
- Sowing Rate: 3-5 kg/ha (Coated) 2-4 kg/ha (Bare)
- Pest Resistance: Spittlebug (English), cigarrinha (Brazil), chicharrita (Argentina), salivazo (Colombia) (Notozulia entreriana), Deois flavopicta, D. incompleta, Mahanarva spp., Aeneolamia reducta, A. selecta (Homoptera, Cercopidae) affects some cultivars in tropical America. Colonião, Tobiatã, Vencedor and Gatton are very susceptible to spittlebug attack.
- Good palatability
- Broad long leaves
- Persists best in fertile well drained soils
Combines well with twining legumes under light grazing. As these legumes are generally less tolerant of grazing than the grass, the legume component declines and weeds increase under heavier grazing. P. maximum should not be planted with less palatable grasses. This leads to selection and decline of the P. maximum. It can be grown successfully under open forest or plantation due to shade tolerance.
- Disease Resistance/Tolerance:
Ergot (Claviceps spp.), and other fungal diseases, Conidiospormyces ayresii, Fusarium roseum, and Tilletia sp., can reduce seed yields when conditions are favourable to the pathogen. Seed production has also been adversely affected by a smut (Ustilago sp.) in Colombia and bunt in the Rift Valley of Kenya. A leaf spot caused by Cercospora fusimaculosus has been recorded in Puerto Rico.
- Variety Management/Agronomy:
Germination should be tested, since seed of some genotypes may not reach maximum germination until up to 18 months after harvest, while others may take only a few months. Dormancy can be overcome by removal of glumes from fresh seed. Seed can be drilled or broadcast at 2-3 kg/ha, and being a small seed, should be planted at no more than 1 cm deep. Rolling after sowing improves germination and establishment. P. maximum can also be established from rooted tillers (or cuttings with thick stemmed varieties) planted on the contour every 0.5-0.6 m in rows 1.25-1.5 m apart, or as close as 40 cm in a triangular pattern if a faster cover is required.
Establishment fertiliser is necessary on infertile soils, using 20-40 kg/ha P, and about 50 kg/ha N if limited cultivation prior to planting. Maintenance fertiliser is needed for pure grass swards especially in cut-and-carry systems. Inadequate N will lead to weakening of the stand and invasion by less desirable species. Maintenance dressings of 200-400 kg/ha/yr N are required to promote healthy, productive stands on less fertile soils. Soils with a pH <5 require addition of lime to raise pH to 5.5-6.