"Grasslands Gala" Grazing Brome: A New Pasture Grass
Gala ( grazing brome) (Bromus stamineus Desv.) is a perennial species that is native to Chile. Gala has many similarities with Matua (Matua prairie grass) (Bromus wildenowii Kunth.) (Table 1). Gala differs from Matua by its smaller tiller size, greater tiller number, greater pubescence and longer awns. It is relatively deep rooted with an ability to survive very dry summer conditions. In New Zealand it is widespread throughout East coast regions where it is found in closely grazed and mown areas.
Plant: Compared to Matua, Gala produces a denser sward with approximately twice as many tillers, with narrower leaves. It is also more pubescent on the lemma, leaf sheath, and leaves. Plants are shorter than Matua grass. Seed: Seeds are similar in size to Matua but the awn is longer and usually over 5-7mm. This requires processing of the seed in order to plant through traditional seed drills.
PERFORMANCE AND USE
Research result indicated that Gala exhibited higher production to perennial ryegrass during winter and dry summers. However, Gala's yield was frequently below that of perennial ryegrass during September and October when ryegrass produces rapid flush of reproductive growth. The summer yields were found to be similar to perennial ryegrass and orchardgrass.
In contrast to Matua, Gala has shown an excellent ability to persist under very close continuous grazing and frequent mowing. This is probably due to its smaller tiller size, a much higher proportion of vegetative tillers, fewer aftermath seedheads, and higher number of tillers throughout the summer. In Matua, the low tiller number and the development of a very high proportion of reproductive tillers may have contributed to its limited survival.
Gala does poorly in waterlogged or heavy-textured soils, which is similar to Matua having low tolerance to winter-wet soils and soil compaction. Planting date is a critical factor in obtaining successful and rapid establishment on farms. Plant while soil temperature is warm from late spring to late summer. In this respect Gala is similar to Matua in that temperatures over 75-80oF are required for rapid establishment. Under favorable conditions Gala can establish rapidly, however, similar to many deeper rooted grasses, establishment is usually slow. The pasture may not reach high production level until the second year. For best result, plant Gala at planting depth no greater than 1 to 1 1/4 inch and with nitrogen fertilizer.
Unlike Matua, Gala has a winter requirement for seedhead development (example: orchardgrass and tall fescue), as it produces very few seedheads from spring planting. It also produces a much lower number of aftermath seedheads during summer than Matua which produces seedheads all summer.
Although we have other forage species such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, Gala seems to be a better cultivar which combines drought tolerance with winter growth and tolerance to close grazing. Gala grazing brome may have a role as an alternative forage species (for grazing) to orchardgrass and tall fescue. However, research in Virginia is required to fully evaluate its cultural requirement and adaptability.
Please see hard copy for table.
1. Stewart, A. V. 1992. 'Grasslands Gala' grazing brome - (Bromus stamineus Desv.) - a new dryland pasture grass. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research. 35:349-353
2. Grasslands Gala - grazing brome. Cascade International Seed Company. 8483 W. Stayton Rd., Aumsville, Oregon 97325
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