Premier Finger Grass

Digitaria eriantha

  • Highly productive, robust tufted perennial that is palatable and persistent
  • Well adapted to inland environments with low rainfall and winter frosts
  • Good drought, fire and cold tolerance



    Digit grass is a highly productive, robust tufted perennial that is palatable and persistent. Well adapted to inland environments with low rainfall and winter frosts, Premier will grow on a wide range of soils from sands, scrub and medium clay soils, where its open sward makes it easy to coexist with legumes. Premier has good drought, fire and cold tolerance and its foliage is low in oxalate making it suitable for horses.


    Rainfall: 650mm

    Planting Rate (kg/ha): Marginal Dryland 4-5, Good Dryland 8-12, Irrigated 12-15.


    Species origin

    Africa, introduced into Australia from South Africa and re-selected for release as Premier. This species is related to Pangola grass Digitaria decumbens – a non-seeding type.


    Varieties - Premier

    Premier is a robust and tufted perennial grass with short stolons. It has good persistence under dryland conditions. It is frost susceptible but can recover under favourable winter temperatures and is particularly suited to inland areas of Australia with lower rainfall and server winter frosts.

    Jarra Digitaria milanjiana was selected for nematode resistance. It is suitable for the banana growing area of Queensland where nematode is a problem. It is also a vigorous creeping grass that can persist even under heavy grazing due to its stoloniferous and rhizomatous growth habits.


    Plant Characteristics

    Growth habit has been described as a very variable species with growth habit ranging from stoloniferous to tufted or rhizomatous. Basal leaf sheaths are hairy or silky and rhizomes may develop knots. Morphologically it is similar to Jarra grass Digitaria milanjiana but can be distinguished from jarra through its smooth lower lemma. Persistent and very drought tolerant perennial – very aggressive and invasive for a range of soils and growing conditions and can tolerate soils with salinity problems.

    Uses suitable for grazing, hay or silage. It can withstand heavy grazing and may contain very low level of oxalates. The stoloniferous type is suitable for erosion control as it can produce a good ground cover.
    Adaptation – grow best in rainfall between 450mm – 800mm. The seeding type performs will in light sandy soil (its natural habitat0 and the Pangola type prefers heavier soul. Seeding types are suitable for areas with frequent drought and frost.


    Seed Characteristics

    Seeds are small and are similar in size to panic grass – bare seeds at 1.5million seeds/kg, therefore coated seeds can facilitate seeding operations.

    Seed dormancy can be a problem in freshly harvested seeds, requiring seeds to be aged for 4-6 months.


    Seeding Rate

    Bare seeds at 1-4 kg/ha
    Coated seeds at 2-8kg/ha

    Tropical Grasses

    Tropically adapted grasses come in a wide range of species adapted to varying conditions. Many summer crops grown today are annual tropical grasses. Perennial tropical grasses offer the same benefits in terms of growth response to moisture & temperature and dry matter production.