3p grasses

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Definition of 3P grass density

3P grass density, vigour and response to rainfall 3P grasses are those that are palatable, perennial and productive. Examples of 3P grasses in the Burdekin uplands include Heteropogon contortus (black speargrass), Bothriochloa ewartiana (desert bluegrass), Dicanthium sericeum (Queensland bluegrass) and Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass).

Dense 3P pastures with good ground cover maximise the land’s ability to respond to rain and produce useful forage. This in turn, provides an effective trapping and filtering medium to slow water movement and increase runoff infiltration ─ especially after a long, dry spell. Soils in 3P patches ‘wet-up’ faster and have a greater soil moisture content than bare ground and annual grass patches, especially in the early wet season. This is of particular significance for both water quality and animal productivity as most nutrients are usually lost in the early wet.

As prolonged overgrazing leads to the decline and eventual loss of 3P grasses from pasture, the type and abundance of grasses in a pasture can be used as an indicator of system health.

Maximising 3P grass ground cover is recognised as the single most important management strategy for improving runoff quality in the Burdekin uplands

Typical 3P grasses are black speargrass (Heteropogon contortus), desert mitchell grass (Bothriochloa ewartiana), Queensland blue grass (Dichanthium sericeum) and kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra).

Related information

Grader grass vs Kangaroo grass © NQ Dry Tropics

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