Does it look like the grasses have died?

Region: Barkly Region, Central Australia | Topic: Livestock
May 2021 | Chris Materne, Pastoral Production Officer

Dead mitchell grass

Caption: There have been reports of large-scale death of mitchell grass on the Barkly Tablelands.

There has been some concern across the Barkly and Central Australia that a large number of perennial grass tussocks have died. Excellent rain across Central Australia has seen some growth of buffel grass and native grasses such as kangaroo grass, umbrella grass and cotton panic grass. However, there has been little germination of new tussocks and a lot of the old tussocks have not shown any sign of regrowth.

Much of the Barkly has also experienced a good wet season. However, following two dry years there is concern that there has been a lot of Mitchell grass tussock death.

The Livestock Industries branch from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade is interested in finding out what is happening in your region to determine if there should be a broader investigation. The questions are:

  1. Have you experienced substantial perennial tussock death on your property?
  2. Which land types or areas is it occurring in?
  3. Are you concerned with recent perennial tussock death?
  4. What grasses are you worried about?
  5. Have you observed any germination from seed over the past two years?
  6. How has this affected your management?

Land managers are encouraged to report their observations to Chris Materne, Pastoral Production Officer (based in Alice Springs). Chris can be contacted via email, or phone on 08 8951 8135.

Dead buffel grass

Caption: Some parts of Central Australia have experienced lots of death of mature buffel grass tussocks with little germination of new buffel grass seedlings.

Back to NT Rural Review - May 2021