The King Kong of tropical grasses: Mekong Briz
29 November 2021, Australia: Mekong Briz™(antha brachiaria) is a highly productive, long term pasture option for central, coastal and northern Queensland.
It provides growers with weed suppression, outstanding dry matter production and eight to nine months of vegetative growth throughout the year.
Gerry Dogao, PGG Wrightson Seeds sales agronomist for central and northern Queensland said cows love it.
“It can handle an intense grazing system and will produce feed for eight to nine months of the year as it only flowers once a year, which is a real plus.”
Pasture and weed suppression
Mekong persists well as a standalone pasture and as part of a mix producing dry matter yields that range from eight to 20 tDM/ha/year (sole pasture) if fertilised well.
“Mekong makes a great companion plant especially in a blend of grasses and legumes. Mix with a Rhodes grass and V8 Stylo for a highly productive mix with good weed suppression” Gerry said.
PGG Wrightson Seeds northern region sales manager and south eastern Queensland/Northern Rivers sales agronomist Nathan Surawski, also recommends Mekong as a strong option for weed suppression.
“My kids call it the King Kong of tropical grasses, and I tend to agree as Mekong is a fantastic option for South Eastern Queensland,” Nathan said.
“The PGG Wrightson Seeds team have even begun to see increased success when sown further south where there is a cooler climate. Mekong is great for suppressing weeds due to its aggressive growth characteristics.”
Shane Strazzeri, owner/operator of Barronessa Farming in the Atherton Tablelands is impressed with Mekong’s on farm performance.
“I have been really impressed with my Envirogro treated Mekong pasture in the Atherton Tablelands,” he said.
“I am amazed at how fast it grows and how well it keeps the woody weeds out. It must be tasty as my cattle (Brangus charolais) love it and don’t look for other grasses to graze.
“I think it has the potential to be used to push out sedge, and its root system brings up nutrients and has great ground cover. I will definitely be sowing another Mekong pasture after seeing how well it is performing in my top end paddock,” he concluded.
Mekong is a fantastic option for northern Australia and will suit a wide variety of climatic conditions and soil types.
This highly adaptable plant grows on a wide range of soils (well drained to heavy) with a pH of four to 8 and can tolerate high aluminium concentrations found on soils below pH 5.5.
Mekong can also withstand dry periods of three to six months (during which the leaf may remain green when other tropical species have browned off), and short-term flooding of up to one month.
Typically, Mekong is suitable for areas with 500 mm of annual rainfall however, due to its deep root system, Mekong can access soil moisture during the drier times and may be suitable in lower rainfall areas.