Saraji Sabigrass

Scientific name(s)
Urochloa mosambicensis


  • Fast growing in spring.
  • Excellent drought survival ability.
  • Grows well on a wide range of soil types and environments.
  • Tolerates heavy grazing.
  • Tolerates lower fertility than most sown grasses
    with some salinity tolerance.
  • Responsive to increased soil fertility.
  • Few pests and diseases.
  • Better winter growth than cv Nixon.


  • Matures quickly and dries off early in autumn.
  • Sensitive to frost.
  • Not suited to heavy clays.

Plant description

Plant: Stoloniferous, sprawling lower branches, sometimes rooting from lower nodes, 30-100 cm high.

Stems: Trailing, hairy nodes.

Leaves: Often pale green, hairy, 20 – 40 cm long, up to 1 cm wide

Seeds: Vary from a dull green to straw in colour, to 1M seeds/kg.

Seedhead: 3-15 branches, 2-8 cm long, seeds in 2 symmetrical rows

Pasture type and use

Summer growing perennial grass used in tropical cattle grazing systems, roadside stabilisation and mine rehabilitation. Palatable plant with good forage quality when green.

Where it grows

500 – 1300 mm/annum.

Well adapted to a wide range of well drained, not waterlogged, soils including sands, loams and lighter clay soils of low to high fertility. Tolerant of lower fertility than alternative sown grasses. Some salinity tolerance.

Summer growing grass with most production occurring in the warmer months, responding rapidly to spring and early summer rainfall; dries off rapidly in autumn. Plants frosted in winter but shoot in early spring when moisture is available.


Companion species
Grasses: Not usually sown with grasses; has invaded run-down buffel pastures and grown with Indian couch (Bothriochloa pertusa)

Legumes: Not usually sown with legumes; Potential legumes vary from the tropics to the sub-tropics and with soil type; Sown legumes, include the summer growing legumes stylo (Stylosanthes spp.), desmanthus (Desmanthus virgatus), butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea), leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) and lucerne (Medicago sativa), and annual winter growing medic cultivars (Medicago spp.).

Sowing/planting rates as single species
2-4 kg/ha bare seed; usual seed quality (germination and purity) and maturity considerations, 600,000-1 M seeds/kg. Sow up to 2 cm deep.

Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
1-4 kg/ha bare seed, sow at a pro rata rate depending on the number of species in the mixture; sowing rate is unchanged when sown with legumes.

Sowing time
On spring to early summer rainfall or mid-January to February to avoid heat wave periods. Freshly harvested untreated seed remains dormant for the current season (6 months), but can be hammer-milled to remove the inhibiting glumes for earlier sowing.

Not applicable

Varies with soil texture, fertility and rainfall; responds to phosphorus (to 35 kg P/ha) and nitrogen (to 100kg N/ha).


Maintenance fertiliser
Not usually fertilised for grazing; Depending on soil -responds to nitrogen (to 100 kg/ha) and phosphorus. High rates for seed production.

Heavy grazing, cutting and fire tolerant, responds rapidly to spring/early summer rain and is selectively grazed, can become ‘papery’ in a dry autumn even before frosting.

Ability to spread
Good ability to spread by seed and stolons, adapted to low fertility soils. Fast growing seedlings.

Weed potential
Potential competitor in ungrazed sites e.g. roadsides..

Major pests
No significant pests under grazing.

Major diseases
No significant diseases under grazing.

Herbicide susceptibility
Glyphosate (Roundup) susceptible, tolerates atrazine to 4L/ha.

Animal production

Feeding value
High quality when green and growing; CP in fertilised young leaf to 20% and IVDMD to 70% declining rapidly when mature to less than 10% CP and 45% IVDMD. Phosphorus range of 0.1-0.6% depending on soil fertility and fertiliser. Sodium levels 0.1-1.5% varies with soils.

High palatability when growing, lower on maturity.

Production potential
0.5-5t DM/ha depending on soils and fertiliser (N and P rates), producing 80-360 kg LWG /ha/year (the higher levels with fertiliser and companion legumes).

Livestock disorders/toxicity
No disorders or toxicity.