Callide and Samford rhodes are vigorous "giant", tetraploid types; they are late flowering, and remain leafy and palatable into autumn. While more vigorous and palatable than Pioneer and Katambora, they demand higher fertility and may not persist as well on lower fertility soils. They are also less drought-tolerant than Pioneer in more arid districts. Seed production can be checked by the early onset of cool weather in inland areas of the subtropics. The seed of Callide and Samford has a longer awn than the other varieties, and this can make seed flow through machinery more difficult.
- Name: Callide
- Category: Rhodes Grass
- Rainfall: 550mm+
- pH: 5 -8
- Soil Type: Wide Range
- Sowing Rate: 3-6 kg/ha (Coated) 2-4 kg/ha (Bare)
- Pest Resistance: While the following fungi and nematodes have been isolated from the grass, they rarely have any economic impact. Fungi: Aspergillus flavus, Cerebella andropogonis, Cladosporium sp., Claviceps sp., Cochliobolus heterostrophus, Cochliobolus chrolidis (leaf blight) Drechslera australiensis (drechslera leaf spot), Fusarium equiseti, F. gramineum (smut), F. oxysporum, Helminthosporium carbonum, Himaydis sp., Nigrospora sphaerica, Puccinia chlorides, Pythium aphanidermatum, Rhizoctonia solani (summer blight), Tolyposporium chlorides, Trichoderma sp., and Uromyces kenyensis. Nematodes: Helicotylenchus dihystera, H. nannus, H. pseudorobustus, H. cavenessi, Hemicycliphora truncata, Hoplolaimus pararobustus, Meliodognye acronea, M. incognita acrita, M. javanica, Pratylenchus brachyurus, Rotylenchulus reniformis (reniform nematode), Scutellonema clathricaudatum, Trichodorus minor, Tylenchus spiralis, Xiphinema elongatum, X. ifacolum. "Katambora" and "Nemkat" are resistant to Rotylenchulus reniformis, and are used in pasture leys to reduce nematode populations in preparation for succeeding crops. Chloris striate mosaic virus, which may also attack Ixophorus unisetus, Dactylis glomerata, Triticum ssp., Avena sativa, Hordeum vulgare, and Zea mays is transmitted by Nesoclutha (obscura) pallida (Cicadellidae), and may be carried in the seed. Insect pests include fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), larvae of Mocis latipes, (both Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), the lesser corn-stalk borer (Elasmopalpus lignosellus), rhodes grass scale or rhodes grass mealybug (Antonina graminis), chinch bugs (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae: Blissus spp.) and the two-lined spittle bug (Homoptera: Cercopidae:Prosapia bicincta). Some of these can severely damage stands if conditions are suitable. The angiosperms, Striga lutea and S. asiatica, parasitise Chloris gayana .
- Best suited to fertile soils
- Long season variety
- Makes good quality fodder
Rhodes grass forms strong bunch-type stools; its runners rapidly cover the ground surface, anchoring at the nodes and producing plantlets. Its vigorous root system gives a degree of drought resistance but it performs best in the 700-l,000 mm belt. Rhodes grass shows moderate frost tolerance, but is primarily a summer grower. Rhodes grass is quite versatile in its soil requirements, although it grows best on softwood scrub red loams and the stronger brigalow soils. It is quite salt tolerant, and is one of the best grasses for sowing on earthworks. Rhodes grass will combine with siratro, stylo, lotononis and Wynn cassia in coastal and sub-coastal areas of higher rainfall, and with lucerne in inland districts.
- Variety Management/Agronomy:
Can be propagated vegetatively or from seed. Planting material can be obtained by breaking up larger clumps into pieces, or using the small tussocks along the stolons that establish readily. Either is planted on about a 1 m grid. A more rapid cover can generally be obtained by planting from seed, usually at sowing rates of 0.5-1 kg/ha. Seed of the diploids has little or no post-harvest dormancy, while seed of the tetraploids may not reach maximum germination for 3-6 months (sometimes up to 18 months) after harvest. Seed is best sown on the surface (definitely no deeper than 2 cm) of a well-prepared seedbed, followed by rolling. The fluffy seed tends to "ball" or bridge when planting. For broadcasting, seed is best mixed with sawdust or sand ; and for drilling, it flows more readily if pelleted. Seed germinates in 1-7 days, and seedlings develop rapidly.
Although Chloris gayana can survive on infertile soil, it is very unproductive, and may eventually die out, particularly if grazed regularly. Responds to phosphorus in poorer soils, and gives a linear yield and crude protein response of up to 300 kg/ha of nitrogen if other nutrients are adequately supplied. Split applications, each of 50-100 kg/ha N, are normally used when economically feasible.
Compatibility (with other species)
Grows well with temperate and tropical legumes, by virtue of its open stoloniferous ground cover.
- Top Grasses: Cenchrus ciliaris , lower growing Panicum maximum cultivars (e.g. Petrie, Gatton), Setaria sphacelata .
- Legumes: Centrosema pubescens , Clitoria ternatea , Desmodium uncinatum Neonotonia wightii , Lotononis bainesii , Macroptilium atropurpureum , Medicago sativa , Stylosanthes guianensis , Trifolium repens.