Gatton panic

NOTE: The information in this Agnote must be read in conjunction with Introduction to selecting and using pastures in NSW, which covers information on areas of adaptation, sources of variability, species mixtures, and important issues related to animal health and the conservation of native vegetation.
Pasture type and use Perennial grass, producing main growth in spring, summer and autumn. Grazing.
Area of adaptation Northern NSW
Min. average annual rainfall 500 mm
  • Better spring growth than many other tropical grasses.
  • Moderately palatable, shade-tolerant, moderate drought resistance.
  • Superior to Petrie on low-fertility soils.
  • Poor tolerance to flooding.
  • Moderate persistence.
Soil requirements Medium-textured soils with good fertility.
Varieties Gatton
Sowing rates:
  • as only species - 2–4 kg/ha
  • in mixtures - 1–2 kg/ha
Sowing time Mid-spring to late summer, depending on rainfall incidence and weed control.
Companion species Grasses: Rhodes grass, digit grass.

Inland - lucerne and medics, sub clover;
Coastal - siratro, greenleaf desmodium, glycine, white clover.

Inoculation N/A
Major nutrient deficiencies Phosphorus, nitrogen and sulfur.
Main insect pests No significant problems.
Main diseases No significant problems.
Management Maintain a moderate amount of leaf on the plant without allowing it to become rank. Avoid heavy grazing just before winter.
Livestock disorders of particular note Frequently hyperparathyroidism (‘big head’) in horses, occasionally nephrosis or hypocalcaemia in ruminants, due to oxalates.
Additional tips Adequate weed control is essential for successful establishment. Ensure seed is free of declared weeds (e.g. parthenium weed).
Further information Agfact P2.5.35. Panic grasses for pastures.


Advice on livestock health disorders was provided by Dr Chris Bourke, Principal Research Scientist, NSW Agriculture, Orange. His contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

Photo: Warren McDonald, Former Technical Specialist (Pastures), NSW Agriculture, Tamworth