Russian Grass Seed / Green Mamba™

Welcome to Green Mamba™

Green Mamba™ is Russian Grass that has been specifically bred with two or more distinct genetic lines, enabling cross fertilisation and thus viable seed, together with maximum hybrid vigour for a single generation.

The original genetics, adapted to South Africa since the 1930's, were traced. Green Mamba™ experimented with various crosses using both local and imported eco types and genetics.

 During this process the optimum F1 Hybrid for extensive South African conditions was refined. The F1 Hybrid forms the genetic basis for Green Mamba™ grass.

What is Green Mamba™ Grass?

Advantages of Green Mamba™:

What is Russian Grass?

Why Russian Grass?

How does Russian Grass Work?

About Russian grass

The broad leafed, evergreen Lucerne replacement:

Detailed description of Russian Grass.

Characteristics:

Establishment:

Purpose and Value:

What Phalaris subspecies is Russian Grass?

Impact of Russian Grass on Livestock carrying capacity

Russian Grass Vegetative Propagation vs. Seed Establishment:

Advantages of Vegetative Establishment vs. Seed Establishment:

Vegetative Advantages:

Vegetative disadvantages:

Advantages of establishing from Seed:

Disadvantages of establishing from Seed:

Optimum establishment methods for Russian Grass Seeds

Genetics

How Green Mamba™ came about:

Green Mamba™: Genetic overview

Russian Grass History

Genetic Foundation of the Russian Grass Industry in South Africa:

Russian Grass Root Development

Russian Grass advantages over Lucerne/Alfalfa

Product and Pricing Information

Commercial Focus of the Green Mamba™ Network:

Breakdown of our Green Mamba™ Price Structure:

Black Mamba™ Irrigation Grass:

What is Black Mamba™?

Green Mamba™:

Spot Price, via Dealers:

Terms of Sale:

Contract Seed Production Price for Green Mamba™:

On Farm Seed Orchard Price:

 

What is Green Mamba™ Grass?

Green Mamba™ grass has been bred to a F1 Hybrid with a 70-80% F1 seed ratio per kg.

Advantages of Green Mamba™:

  1. 10 hectares of seed orchard has the seed production possibility of 3-5 tons of F1 seed; enough to establish 3000-5000 hectares of Wild Game Farm or extensive areas at a low density.
  2. The higher quality of F1 Hybrids doubles the plant vigour and individual plant hardiness, enabling extensive use in the temperate summer rainfall and arid grassland areas of South Africa.
  3. Plant establishment rate of 70-80% from F1 Hybrid seeds lowers establishment costs compared to vegetative methods by 90%, due to the high individual plant fitness derived from hardy F1 plant genetics.
  4. Large volumes of seed are no longer required for a lush stand, and much larger areas can be established on a broad acre scale.
  5. A 1- hectare seed orchard can produce 300-500 kg of F1 hybrid seed, providing enough seed to establish roughly 300-500 hectares at a moderate density and given a year establishment period.
  6. In areas where the habitat and nutrition is sub-optimal in the topsoil, establishment success is still possible due to hardy genetics for a single generation making the plant more persistent. The commercial result is successful commercial establishment from seed at affordable rates.

Russian Grass Seed

What is Russian Grass?

A broad leaf, evergreen grass that has the ability to spread both by seed and through runners, providing highly nutritious, year-round forage.

Why Russian Grass?

Russian Grass will grow in a variety of soils (pH of 3.8-8) including clay, turf, swamps and marshes, sand, and silt. Russian Grass can be sown throughout the year and will grow in any season, and can survive in extreme temperatures.

image12

Can withstand frost and cold down to -20 °C as well as snow.

How does Russian Grass Work?

Russian Grass seed is a forage and lawn seed that, once sown and covered with a thin layer of soil, will germinate within 14 days. This provides new year-round pasture from bare soil in 6-12 months.  

Russian Grass pasture afer 12 months

About Russian grass

The broad leafed, evergreen Lucerne replacement:

  1. NUTRITIOUS & LUXURIOUS – Russian Grass is nutritionally superior to Alfalfa with a protein content of up to 35%. It is texturally comparable to Lucerne and Teff, yet has a richer green colour, and a 1.5m deep root system.
  2. UNIQUELY TOLERANT – Russian Grass is drought and frost resistant. It will flourish in full sun, under trees and other shaded areas, waterlogged conditions, and areas where other grasses do not survive.
  3. EXTREMELY VERSATILE – Russian Grass can be used in a variety of different applications from residential lawns to commercial agricultural use on a broad acre scale.
  4. ALWAYS GREEN – Once established Russian Grass will continue to grow and remain green year round with peak production from June to November.
  5. EASY TO USE – Russian Grass is easy to establish using our step by step sowing and planting instructions
  6. NOT LABOR INTENSIVE–  Seeds can be sown directly with no ground preparation required, provided you have enough seed.

Benefits of using Russian Grass

GUARANTEED TO PERFORM

Russian Grass is well suited to withstand Africa’s varying climatic conditions and will remain green year round. It provides animals with fodder during dry seasons.

READY, SET, GROW

Russian Grass Seed germinates within 14 days.

Established forage within 6-12 months.

GROWS ANYWHERE

Russian Grass Seed will germinate and grow in a variety of different soil conditions, including soils that are infertile or waterlogged; in areas of full sun; under a variety of trees; and in other shaded areas.

AFFORDABLE PRICING

Russian Grass Seed is an affordable and effective solution to establishing high quality forage from scratch or within existing grass pastures.

MINIMUM EFFORT

Revive pastures that are brown or patchy with minimum effort, without having to remove existing grass, simply by sowing Russian Grass seeds at a rate of 5-10kg/ha; or sow at 1-3 kg/ha in a well prepared seedbed.

LESS WATER & FERTILIZER

Russian Grass pastures require 50% less water than Lucerne. The long and extensive root system retrieve water and nutrients form deeper subsoil levels. Excess nutrients and water are stored in stems, roots, and runners for drier seasons.
 

ANY TIME, ANY SEASON

Sowing can take place throughout the year as Russian Grass seeds will germinate and grow in any season. Once established, pastures will maintain their green colour and texture year-round, with peak production during June to November, thus extending the nutritional plane into the dry season when other grasses brown and become dormant.

NATURAL

Russian Grass seeds are grown naturally and are not genetically modified.

BIGGER, BETTER, GREENER

Russian Grass seeds are sold in 1kg bags, the largest bags of seeds on the market, giving you more seeds per square meter to ensure an even carpet of green pasture grass.

Why use Russian Grass?

  • GREEN 365 DAYS OF THE YEAR
  • NUTRITIONALLY COMPARABLE TO LUCERNE
  • GROWS ANYWHERE, ANY SEASON
  • DROUGHT AND FROST RESISTANT
  • SOWING YEAR ROUND
  • EXTREMELY VERSATILE
  • FULL SUN OR SHADE

Evergreen Russian perennial grass with a deep taproot system

Detailed description of Russian Grass.

Characteristics:

  • Russian Grass is a cool season, nutritionally dense grass. Its most vigorous forage growth is from March to November, when it can be grazed directly from the veld without the need for cutting, baling or storage.  With 30-35% protein production it equals or betters Alfalfa/Lucerne, depending on soil nitrogen availability. December to May it equals the best quality summer pasture.
  • Russian Grass is the winter equivalent to Smutsfinger Grass and unbeatable in terms of cost benefit in a tough environment.
  • Its taproot system can access deep subsoil moisture to a depth of 1.5m.
  • Russian Grass can withstand temperatures between -20 °C and + 50 °C. It also grows in snow and ice, as well as unfavourable soil types other grasses abhor.
  • Russian Grass thrives in heavier clays and darker soils with a higher moisture content, but performs well on infertile sands and poor red, dark and brown soils over the entire spectrum. It grows well in riparian wetland environment.
  • Russian Grass can survive occasional flooding and is ideal for erosion control in gullies and firebreaks. Russian Grass is a recommended buffer zone in fire prone grassland areas. It acts as a fire retardant grass and quickly recovers.
  • Russian Grass increases summer grazing capacity 3-5 times (without fertilisation and irrigation) by providing a 12-month nutritional plane, stretching into the dry season. With twice yearly fertilisation and irrigation, Russian Grass provides 30-40 tons per hectare of edible DM biomass, with typically 12 MJ of energy per ton.
  • Russian Grass also functions well as lawn. It withstands dogs, rabbits and yard animals much better than traditional lawn species.
  • Russian grass is robust when mature, handling heavy trampling well, in small camps or paddocks.

Establishment:

http://www.mworks.com/SARE/Program/Stale_Seed_Bed_-_Photos/IMG_00053a.jpg

A Typical fine seedbed ideal for planting Russian Grass forage

 

  • Densely sown (5-10 kg seed/ha) Russian Grass establishes within 6 months. Lower seed density of 1 kg/ha establishes in about a year, due to vegetative spreading through runners. If given enough space, water and nutrition a single clump of Russian Grass can reach 1.8m in height and about 0.5-1m in diameter after 2 years. Higher soil fertility, earthworm activity, and the amount of animal improved manure, increase the recovery and growth rate.  
  • The 1.5 m deep taproot normally requires a year to fully establish. Taproot access to deep subsoil moisture is the key to having green feed out of season, during extreme cold, and droughts.
  • At a low seed density Russian Grass may have reduced production in the establishment year, until the taproots reach subsoil moisture and runners fill in available spaces. This problem can be overcome by ripping and use of a higher seed density. Rip line planting methods are often used as a Game and Wildlife Management tool with furrows drawn where one wishes to concentrate the game animals, often in parallel, 20m-50m away of game viewing tracks. It creates a natural looking stand in a bush environment, drawing animals to watering spots, visible areas, and desired high value locations.
  • If Russian Grass is planted on a rip line during February or March, the first grazing can be 6 months/180 days later with supplemental irrigation.
  • Due to Nitrogen yield response the biomass production of Russian Grass doubles when it is planted as the grass component in a grass/legume mixed stand. Subterranean Red Clover is a good companion species.
  • Russian grass excels with a150 kg bi-annual application of Zinc Sulfate, Phosphate and Nitrogen fertilisation. Its ability to withstand higher amounts of manure, slurry, and Nitrogen than conventional grasses make it ideal for dairy farms and manure rich or waterlogged environments.
  • Russian Grass can be established extensively with grazing animals having access to the area. However, some young seedlings may be pulled up by grazing animals, decreasing the stand. A more appropriate strategy is to lock up the paddock. In the case of Game Farms, overlay the rip line into which Russian Grass has been planted with thorn bushes. One can also establish pioneer plants in hard to reach thickets and under existing thorny vegetation such as Sekelbos from where it can reseed itself.  
  • To plant Russian Grass in thickets, make small holes with sharpened tubular pipes and dribble a few seeds down the pipes into the holes or hydro seed.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4d/Hydroseeding_isle_of_grain_kent.jpg/300px-Hydroseeding_isle_of_grain_kent.jpg

Hydro Seeding

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroseeding
Hydroseeding (or hydraulic mulch seeding, hydro-mulching, hydraseeding) is a planting process that uses a slurry of seed and mulch. It is often used as an erosion control technique on construction sites, as an alternative to the traditional process of broadcasting or sowing dry seed.

 

  • Russian Grass can be established by vegetative means.

Purpose and Value:

  • The value of Russian Grass lies in its ability to utilize deep subsoil moisture during a time period when summer grass species are dormant; providing equal or better nutrition than Alfalfa; and requiring 50% of moisture required by Alfalfa. It turns low value soils into high value pasture when needed most.
  • The purpose of Russian Grass is to replace dry season supplemental feeding of livestock, horses, and wild game with grain, Teff, and alfalfa/Lucerne. Establishment of perennial, long life, Russian Grass saves on recurring annual cost outlays regarding the purchase and transportation of additional feeds.
  • Russian Grass is ideal for winter green forage when warm season summer grasses are dormant and colourless. Russian Grass can be grazed directly as pasture, with up to 8 grazing cycles a year. (Typically every 6 weeks.) Maximum nutritional impact is achieved by a grazing strategy that allows livestock to graze young regrowth. More mature stands and taller grass are nutritionally less dense. Regrowth of less than 6 weeks is generally of higher nutritional value than Alfalfa/Lucerne.
  • Russian Grass increases summer grazing capacity 3-5 times (without fertilisation and irrigation) by providing a 12-month nutritional plane, stretching into the dry season. With twice yearly fertilisation and irrigation, Russian Grass provides 30-40 tons per hectare of edible biomass, with typically 12 MJ of energy per ton.
  • Russian Grass allows daily weight gains of up 1.2 kg per day for beef cattle directly from veld during peak production season.
  • Russian Grass has a positive impact on animal fertility and twinning in small ruminants due to higher nutritional value and a consistent production plane in winter. Feed is of higher quality than summer grass due to high sugar and protein content and low lignin content. Digestibility of Russian Grass is higher than 80%.

Typical marginal soil area with some deep soil moisture-reserves in dry season where Russian Grass would thrive.

Impact of Russian Grass on Livestock carrying capacity

 

  1. In a 600mm rainfall area, where the indigenous veld has a natural carrying capacity of 1 sheep per ha or 1 Large Stock Unit per 5 ha, Russian Grass, without additional irrigation or fertilisation, increases the carrying capacity to 3-5 sheep per hectare, or 1 LSU per ha.
  2. Carrying capacity can increase to 6-10 sheep per ha and 2 LSU per ha in established pastures, sown at a high density, with rainwater and 100 kg of Nitrogen and Phosphate; or by maintaining a high percentage of legumes in the pasture. Biological nitrogen fixation increases the quality and volume of Russian Grass.
  3. With irrigation, on smaller areas of land with more fertilizer, production yields of 30-40 tons per ha per year become possible. This equals a carrying capacity of 30 sheep /ha/yr and 3-4 LSU/ha/yr. This is over a 12- month period.
  4. With predominantly warm season summer grasses, where Russian Grass is grazed in winter only, the carrying capacity is doubled, but only for 180 days/6 months, allowing approximately 60-80 sheep, or 6-8 LSU per hectare.
  5. Russian Grass is only able to sustain 80 sheep per hectare in ultra- high irrigation and fertilisation conditions, where existing summer grass sustains livestock during the summer months, and Russian grass is used June to November. These high rates are not possible year round.
  6. On smaller farms, plots and areas where land is limited, Russian Grass may be planted in alternate rows with summer grass. This provides year round grazing of both, where each species performs during its dominant season. This lowers the carrying capacity from an ultra-high level for 6 months, to a moderate level, for 12 months. However, the average carrying capacity is higher than either an exclusive summer or winter grass pasture would have.
  7. Russian grass is not a replacement for summer grasses. It is a supplemental cool season forage resource. It lowers feeding cost, raises fertility, and extends the grass fodder resources to year round. It needs to be managed correctly and grazed appropriately for optimum results. During the summer it is of moderate use, but during the winter it plays a vital nutritional role.
  8. It is worth considering taking marginal Maize and sunflower fields that are heavy in clay out of Maize production and repurposing them to grazing using Russian grass as a everygreen perennial.
  9. It is also worth considering improving existing pasturing with a heavy focus on niche areas unsuited to most other grasses due to low soil Ph, heavy clay or sub-optimal soil conditions.

 

Clay soil with shallow water table is ideal for Russian Grass

Typical brackish spot in pasture where annual and summer grasses grow poorly. Russian Grass thrives in such marginal areas.

Russian Grass would flourish on these riverbanks due to the shallow water table

In existing wild game enclosures Russian Grass can be established in thickets and thorn bushes using hydro seeding, hand planting and aerial seeding.

Typical uniform vegetative Russian grass from cuttings by russiangrass.co.za

Russian Grass Vegetative Propagation vs. Seed Establishment:

  • South Africa has a well- developed cottage industry of boutique Russian Grass cloned cutting merchants which sell plant material for vegetative propagation.  South Africa also has a boutique F1 Russian Grass Seed Industry developing proprietary cultivars from the same germplasm.
  • The vegetative propagation methods typically cost R40000-R80000 per hectare due to high labour cost, transport cost and the high cost of vegetative material. Kindly see http://www.olx.co.za/ad/russian-grass-ID15Jbod.html#ee492d3902  and http://www.olx.co.za/ad/russiese-gras-russian-grass-IDW5j0F.html#ee492d3902
  • This vegetative establishment method has some advantages, the main advantage being the cloned material comes with existing roots that are already partially developed, with ready sugar reserves. The plants are quick to mature and establish rapidly. Planting cuttings leads to more rapid establishment, but at much higher cost per individual plant than seed. The approach is one where every single cutting is nurtured individually. About 80% and more of vegetative cuttings survive, due to the reserves stored in the stem and rhizomes. This compensate for the weaker genetics.
  • Establishment from seed ensures more variation and superior genetics. It also is easier and more cost effective. Roughly 600000 seeds are sown per hectare or 60 seeds per 1m of row, or 60 seeds per m2.  About 10%-20% survives, which translates to 6-20 plants per square meter, depending on seeding rate, habitat and climatic risk. The more ideal the nutrition, genetics and habitat, the more successful establishment.
  • A stand established from higher volume of seed is of superior genetic quality than a stand which consists of clones of the same mother plant. Cross-fertilisation result in seed with higher F1 hybrid vigour. Plants established from this seed tend to dominate plants with little or no hybrid vigour. Near-siblings perform the weakest and are easily pushed out of the gene-pool.
  • Natural selection take place and the stronger plants crowd out the weaker by competing for sunlight, water and available soil nutrients.
  • Plants which are inbred (such as when seed is sown in an existing Russian Grass paddock established by vegetative means) can be 50-80% weaker that plants which are the result of cross-fertilisation.
  • Russian Grass seedlings are more vulnerable to a heat wave and have no reserves in a stem or rhizome, whereas cloned cuttings have reserves.  This means that a water concentration feature such as a rip line or furrow greatly assist in concentrating moisture around the young seedlings aiding their growth and establishment. Water is more important to newly germinated seedlings than to bigger cuttings from cloned material. However, once cuttings and seedlings are the same age and size, the seedlings tend to outperform due to a wider genetic base and more hybrid vigour, and less near- sibling inbreeding depression.
  • Fertilizing during the first 6 weeks is of great assistance in boosting taproot growth in newly germinated plants. Loosening the soil assists taproot growth and subsoil penetration, which boosts the establishment percentage. Organic compost, composted farm manure, and Vermicompost aid water retention and yield a nutritional boost increasing the establishment percentage of Russian Grass seed.
  • Direct seeding, hydro seeding, and aerial seeding is possible with Russian Grass seed, but establishment percentages may be low. For these methods to be economically viable a personal seed orchard is recommended.
  • In a fine, deep ripped, well prepared seedbed with irrigation about 90% of plants establish from seed with an 80% germination percentage. In other words, establishment of Russian Grass can be tailor-made: Lots of seed and little preparation for some establishment success in extensive conditions: or less seed but with proper preparation and aftercare in more intensive conditions; and superior vegetative cuttings may be used to fill in empty spots, with even more care per individual plant for high value locations.
  • Cost is the main difference between establishing from vegetative material and seed. Seed is more cost effective as a broad-acre solution. Vegetative establishment is a precise and successful method for intensive areas of high value such as hospital camps and breeding camps but it is not cost effective for moderate and low value general areas.

Advantages of Vegetative Establishment vs. Seed Establishment:

Vegetative Advantages:

  1. All plants are clones of the mother plant with similar performance.
  2. Larger cuttings have existing root reserves, and can survive uprooted for up to 2 months, with stems and roots re-growing upon soil contact.
  3. Plants establish quickly with minimum vulnerability to weed and annual grass competition.
  4. Probability of success is higher than 80% per plant.
  5. It allows for year round self- multiplication of the grass by pulling the roots apart and planting rhizome runners.
  6. An approach of individual care per plant is taken. with high probability of per plant success.
  7. Superior F1 plants can be cloned and replicated by vegetative means.
  8. Precise seed orchard lay-out and gene flow can be orchestrated.

Vegetative disadvantages:

  1. It is a costly, slow, and labour intensive establishment method with transportation difficulties.
  2. Only small areas can be established, typically 1 ha or less.
  3. Cost of R40000 to R80000 per hectare as per current advertising (2016).
  4. Current genetics on the market only performs at 50% of genetic potential due to a lack of hybrid vigour and cross pollination, with sub optimal plant fitness due to near-sibling inbreeding depression.



Russian Grass cloned cuttings for vegetative propagation
(Photo Credit: https://m.facebook.com/Russian-Grass-Pretoria-1054410144584187/)

Advantages of establishing from Seed:

  1. Seeds can deliver F1 hybrid genetics at full genetic potential and maximum plant fitness.
  2. Seeding is a fast and easy broad- acre establishment method.  
  3. Seed establishment is more than 90% cheaper per hectare, with the possibility of a 10 ha seed orchard producing F1 seed able to establish 1000-5000 hectares annually.
  4. A broad-acre approach is taken, with a high probability of per hectare success. An increase in seed volume can compensate for climatic and predation risks, with the strongest genetics surviving
  5. A higher level of genetic diversity is maintained than with vegetative cuttings. A wider genetic base translates into higher plant fitness, more vigour and better growth, with a 25% better biomass production.

Disadvantages of establishing from Seed:

  1. Seedlings are more vulnerable than cuttings to drought and heat stress and require regular precipitation or supplemental irrigation during the first 6 weeks after germination.
  2. Total establishment failure may be experienced with severe prolonged moisture stress, such as a drought, when the taproot is very shallow.
  3. As with all seedlings annual grasses and weeds compete for moisture and nutrients. Therefore, well prepared seedbeds are recommended. Autumn plantings have less weed competition than spring plantings.
  4. Successful establishment requires a deep rip line or fine, weed-free seedbed for the best establishment.

Optimum establishment methods for Russian Grass Seeds

  1. Sow at a density of 1-3 kg of seed per ha into a fine rolled and well prepared seedbed and give 12 months to establish during which each clump will produce rhizomes that fill in the empty spaces.
  2. Sow at 5-10kg of seed per ha for a dense stand and first grazing in roughly 6 months.  
  3. Use a fine seed planter (Teff or Lucerne/Alfalfa planter) with roller or press wheels if available.
  4. Optimum planting depth is 5-10mm, but not deeper than 20mm. Lightly cover the seed with soil and press into the soil for 90% better germination and establishment than simply scattering on top of the soil. Firm soil contact greatly aids germination.
  5. Ideal planting temperature is between 16-26 °C with supplemental irrigation or some soil moisture. Spring and autumn plantings both succeed. Autumn plantings, when annual weed competition is low, are recommended, although year round establishment with irrigation is possible. Spring plantings are recommended after a knockdown herbicide treatment has addressed weed and annual grass competition. A light 2-4-D spray post establishment will take care of broad-leaf weeds.
  6. Russian Grass can be established year round, but germination drops at temperatures above 30 °C. Use a higher seeding rate to compensate.
  7. Where water is limited, a lower seed density of 1 kg of seed per ha, with a longer establishment time frame is recommended.
  8. Once established, Russian Grass is very robust and able to handle all kinds of stress and disease challenges.
  9. Soil preparation with deep ripping halves the time period required for commercial production and greatly enhances establishment success in a sub optimal habitat.  
  10. Allowing Russian Grass to go to seed during its first year aids performance, improves stands, and stimulates runner development.
  11. Mature plants can reach 1.8m high with a clump 1m wide in the second year, providing up to 1kg of biomass from 8 grazing cycles.
  12. Once established, the plants build up plant sugar hydrocarbon reserves for performance during its second season. Allowing reserve build up speeds up regrowth.
  13. Russian Grass is long lived and self-replicating by means of short, subsoil rhizomes and seed. Seed production requires successful cross pollination between plants which are not clones of each other. Superior plants can be cloned and used to establish high value areas, such as boma’s and breeding camps for prized animals, with minimum establishment time.

Russian Grass in October in a Pecan tree Orchard in Northern Cape.

Green Mamba Genetics

Genetics

 

Once Russian Grass has become established, rhizomes/runners spread and new shoots grow. Each seed has its own genetic make-up, but rhizomes and shoots sent up from the root system is genetically identical to the mother plant. Once plants with top genetics have been identified, they can be cloned and plant as cloned cuttings. The resulting patch will have Russian grass that all have the same characteristics and a uniform look. A superior selection process will guarantee superior results.

 Fertilisation between clones is not possible. Clones are self-infertile. The pollen and seeds abort. This does not affect vegetative reproduction purposes. However, if viable seed production is desired, different genetic lines are required.

Green Mamba’s Russian Grass seed has been crossed with the main Russian Grass genetic lines in South Africa, and planting this seed among your existing Russian Grass plants from the vegetative industry will result in near sibling inbreeding. It will reduce the F1 hybrid vigour. Although it will yield viable seed, it will come with lower individual plant fitness. It is better to plant F1 seed away from any existing stand.

Having a seed orchard with viable F1 seeds will require specific seed orchard genetics and carefully designed plots, taking wind pollination into account. Seed orchard genetics may be purchased from Green Mamba™ to ensure a top performance curve. Personal harvesting and sowing of seed produced in a seed orchard are encouraged, but personal seed orchards may not be used for commercial purposes.

How Green Mamba™ came about:

 

  1. In order to lower the cost of establishing Russian Grass, cuttings were planted in Styrofoam seedling trays and floated on a dam for 6 months.
  2. This allowed roots to grow down to 1.5m.  When these long roots were laid out horizontally in furrows, shoots started to grow every few centimeters.
  3. The next approach was to also use the stems of the grass in the furrow, and to initiate a new plant at each node. This aided our establishment ratio.
  4. The next step was to experiment with the very small seeds from Russian Grass. We planted them and found that they did not germinate and were not viable. As they did not germinate the conclusion was drawn that these plants were self-infertile.
  5. Individual genetic lines were identified by cross-pollinating clearly marked plants and harvesting viable seed.
  6. Diverse viable genetic lines from different sources were identified and bred.
  7. The value of Green Mamba™ lies in genetically diverse seed that can be sown taking a broad acre approach.
  8. Green Mamba™ furthermore allows establishment of a seed orchard from seed, with the benefit of having a F1 performance curve.

Green Mamba™: Genetic overview

 

  1. Green Mamba’s aim is to retain the benefits of Russian Grass, which adapted to the very hot and arid summer rainfall conditions in most of South Africa in the period between 1930 and 2016.
  2. Results of F1 Hybrid Green Mamba™ breeding:

The S0 Curve indicates the 50% superior F1 Hybrid plant fitness and performance.

The S1 curve indicates the SA Russian Grass vegetative industry from the Torr 4 tufts of grass.

The S2-S5 lines indicate inbreeding depression from inappropriate back-crossing of the Torr line.

  1. The S1 line indicates the plant hardiness of the original cloned Torr line. As indicated in the above description, the plant requires supplemental irrigation to establish and performs reasonably well at 50% of genetic plant hardiness potential.
  2. The F1 Hybrid, as per the S0 line, yields 100% genetic plant fitness potential. However, the S1 plant fitness spike is only for a single generation, with repeated inbreeding depression as per S2 to S5.  
  3. The S0 curve performs roughly with double the plant fitness and vigour. This translates to roughly 25% more biomass and edible material produced, and more visible plant fitness and genetic hardiness. This increase is relevant in sub optimal summer rainfall conditions.
  4. Current Green Mamba™ trials indicates 80% establishment threshold in 600-800mm summer rainfall areas in South Africa.
  5. Nutrition, habitat and genetics work together in order to clear the 80% minimum establishment threshold mark. Increasing the genetic hardiness to 100%, compensates for sub-optimal fertility and habitat. In extensive direct and areal seeding conditions on a broad-acre scale this ensures large scale establishment success. Improved genetics can counteract stresses with regards to nutrition and habitat.
  6. It is not possible to establish viable seed from the S1 line at 50% of genetic plant fitness in sup-optimal conditions. Because of a lack full genetic potential, the Russian Grass vegetative cutting industry in South Africa is heavily slanted towards aftercare and irrigation.  However, with the F1 Hybrid genetics, it now becomes possible to direct seed the S0 100% genetic potential Green Mamba™ seed on a broad- acre scale. With these genetics you can compensate for less than ideal condition to some extend –although it does not completely make up for the habitat and nutritional deficiencies.
  7. Genetically, the plants are more robust. Even if 10% from 600 000 seeds per kg bag survive, this results in commercial success of 60 000 clumps of grass, which provides 6 tons of green edible material during the dry season in a 600mm rainfall zone. This is saves a lot of money, as it eliminates the need to purchase Lucerne, hay, and Teff.
  8. This evergreen perennial winter grass can therefore be established as winter feed for wild game and small ruminants. Aerial seeding in extensive conditions is viable. Hydro seeding is viable as well.
  9. We found that the F1 generation seed can be established with the minimum care. However, with proper seedbed preparation 20-60% of the seed establishes to a very dense stand, even with only summer rainfall. Any supplemental irrigation increases the germination and establishment rate, and F1 Hybrid “Green Mamba™ genetic kick” assist in helping the grass clear the minimum establishment threshold of 80%.
  10. In more arid areas the establishment threshold may be higher, with a lower success ratio. In wetter areas, with more clay or subsoil moisture that is easier for a taproot to reach, the establishment threshold may be somewhat lower, with a higher success ratio.

F1 Hybrid Seed for single generation –the reason it doesn’t become invasive:

  • We produce F1 Hybrid seed by crossing inbred lines. It requires irrigation and nurturing.
  • The F1 Generation is superior to the parent lines, for a single generation. This is the F1 offspring generation we establish by seed.
  • From the F2 generation onwards, plant fitness dips back to 50%, the S1 curve, below the extensive establishment threshold level. The F2 seed (second generation) from the F1 seed plants you establish is generally not hardy enough to become invasive. Even though F2 seeds are plentiful, and, in a good year, some may establish, without the hybrid vigour of the F1 generation, establishment dip below 1% of the seed produced.
  • For this reason,Green Mamba™ doesn’t become invasive. The F1 grass is optimised for establishment and forage in adverse conditions, and without the hybrid vigour it loses 50% of its genetic potential plant hardiness. For more information kindly see:http://b4fa.org/bioscience-in-brief/plantbreeding/intraspecific-f1-hybrids/disadvantages-f1-hybrids/

Russian Grass History

Genetic Foundation of the Russian Grass Industry in South Africa:

http://gadi.agric.za/articles/Agric/lewensgras.php

 Lewensgras (Phalaris sp.) - a success story?

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F .A. Roux, Pasture Research Section 

THE STORY OF LEWENSGRAS started when Mr Torr of the farm Bultfontuyn in the Middelburg district was given four tufts of this grass by a friend of his, Thomas Marais, who is a farmer in the Hofmeyr area. (Note the narrow genetic base of only 4 tufts of grass upon which the original enterprise rested. This narrow genetic base cloning is what most farmers did for 85 years).

According to Mr Marais, lewensgras was introduced to South Africa by a certain Dr Le Riche who visited the Russian steppe in the 1930's. There on location he saw this grass and asked the Russians if it was possible to get hold of some seeds or plants. This was out of the question. Luckily he was with a group of other South Africans in the veld. In Afrikaans he said to them: "Kyk, ons het die gras nodig. Ek gaan steel en julle gaan wegsteek." And in this way the grass was conveyed to South Africa. Thomas Marais was related to Dr Le Riche and through him got hold of some of the grass.

Mr Torr planted this grass on the farm Beaconsfield in the Hofmeyr district. The first thing that intrigued him about this grass was that it was very brack tolerant, lush, fast growing and frost tolerant. It did not take Mr Torr very long to realize that you could use lewensgras to get the most efficient usage out of your water, especially in the Karoo where water is the limiting factor and the efficient usage thereof is of paramount importance.

In 1981 Mr Torr moved to the farm Bultfontuyn in the Middelburg C.P. district where he continued to carry out trials. During this time he was visited by Dr Piet Roux, a former director of the Karoo Region. Dr Roux was very impressed with the grass and was a great source of encouragement and inspiration. Between 1981 and 1990 Mr Torr refused to sell any of this Phalaris strain because he was determined to test it to the utmost before selling any to his fellow farmers. (During this 9-year period the original 4 tufts of grass were increased through vegetative means to roughly 12 hectares. These clones are all self-infertile and only allow self-replication by vegetative means).

In 1990, after thorough organisation of this new enterprise, Mr Torr started selling the grass in batches of a thousand plants or more. Since 1990 over a million plants have been distributed throughout South Africa, Namibia and even to Paraguay. The feedback was most encouraging and a great percentage of the buyers wanted some more. (The Original 4 tufts of grass were cloned for decades until far more than a million plants had been established, each one a clone of the original 4. The original 4 are a clone of some of the genetic lines brought to South Africa by Dr Ritchie. Propagation has not been by seed at all, resulting in a narrow genetic base.).

On Bultfontuyn there is approximately 12 ha of lewensgras grass under cultivation. Mr Torr is more than satisfied with the performance of Dorpers and milk cows that grazed this grass. (These 12 hectares, and all the other hectares that followed from it, are identical genetic clones from the original mother plant. The secret to breeding viable seed is to also have the other genetic lines in the Russian Grass genepool).

According to Mr Torr the grazing of lewensgras eliminates high capital costs and cuts back on machinery expenditure. He estimates that his cutback is at least 80 %. He claims that the cardinal feature of this grass is that there is no better way of utilizing available water.

During the interview with Mr Torr the following questions were put to him:

To what extent is this grass frost resistant?

Under irrigation it is completely frost resistant and is not dormant. It grows in winter, but at a slower rate.

How does lewensgras propagate?

Due to the fact that the seed is not viable, it is propagated by an efficient vegetative method.

The truth of the matter is that most perennial grasses are self-incompatible in terms of seed production.

Self-incompatibility in plants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-incompatibility_in_plants
Self-incompatibility (SI) is a general name for several genetic mechanisms in angiosperms, which prevent self-fertilisation and thus encourage outcrossing and allogamy.

What this basically means is that the Russian grass cloned by Mr Torr became the “Torr genetic line”, unable to self-fertilize for viable seed production because all the plants are identical clones of the original mother plant, without a father line to enable cross fertilisation ensuring viable seed. The Le Ritchie line also became self-infertile due to cloning, as did many other plants derived from the original genetics.

What about weeding?

No matter how good the preparation of your soil is, you will always have a weed problem.

With the methods developed there is no necessity for weeding. Careful initial grazing and the hand application of fertilizer stimulate the grass tremendously and the weed problem is eliminated. With enough seed weeds are simply smothered.

What about soil type?

The gras has been distributed all over the country and in the various soil and climatic conditions it has proved remarkably versatile. On Bultfontuyn the average soil depth is 100 to 150 mm. One of the aspects of this grass is that it is very resistant to water logging. In America, a similar species was introduced to reclaim marshland. Below this depth is a clay layer with very good moisture retention.

Can lewensgras be used for reclamation purposes?

Definitely, yes! Exciting results have already been obtained in gully erosion on the farm Grass Ridge of Mr Keith Collet in the Cradock area. At Cookhouse where a drainage problem is encountered, promising results were obtained. Even if this grass is covered with 120 to 200 mm of silt, it is not smothered and recovers well.

How frequently must the grass be irrigated?

Once lewensgras is established and an effective ground cover is formed, the periods of irrigation is extended. I am finding now that in the beginning where I irrigated weekly, we can now comfortably extend this period from 3 weeks up to a month. On average I apply about 32 mm of water fortnightly. During excessive heat and wind this amount is increased. Due to the fact that this grass increases the organic content on and in the soil, it decreases the evaporation rate. When the taproot reaches subsoil moisture the need for surface water become less critical. Our focus is on taproot penetration down to subsoil moisture, as well as water concentration features such as a furrow and rip line.

What about fertilisation?

This I've learned is a very important factor for the reason that the bulk of foliage produced is at least double with the application of fertilizer. Approximately 150 kg/ha of ASN is applied during spring and 150 kg/ha during autumn. The autumn application is the most important because this carries the grass through the winter and gives rapid stimulation in the July to August period.

What kind of grazing system do you apply and why?

I apply a heavy intensive grazing system for not longer than 3 days to allow the sheep to clean off the pastures. This has a very stimulating effect on growth. After 3 days the flock is rotated to the next small paddock. This in effect allows from 10 to 12 grazings on a pasture. This is roughly once a month on the same pasture. In essence this means the grass must be utilized to get maximum results. With strict management, I believe that with this system the opportunities of controlling internal parasites leaves tremendous scope for research. There is no purging at all, neither prussic acid poisoning, nor bloating. I still follow a dosing programme three times a year.

Do you ever apply supplementary feeding or licks?

No. This is a very important economic factor.

How long do you keep your Dorper wethers on this pasture before marketing them?

From the day of lambing, approximately 5 to 6 months. The average dressed weight obtained from abattoirs is 20 kg. The average grading was super and first grade.

What are the economic implications of this grass?

You are cutting down on your production costs very dramatically for the following reasons:

1-Drastic reduction on mechanisation and fuel costs.

2-Ultimately a big reduction on labour costs.

3-lncreasing the productivity of the soil and restoring it to nature's way of continuation of productivity.

4- The ability of the grass to sustain Itself through a dry period.

What is the grazing capacity one can expect from this grass?

If your system is running efficiently, there is no lack of water and fertilizer is applied twice a year, a grazing capacity of 40 SSU/year can be obtained.

How does one start off?  (This was the old way, vegetative cloning, and expensive, slow, labour intensive and only using 50% of genetic potential)

My advice to farmers is to start their own nursery. We now advise their own Seed Orchard.

You let the plants grow out and develop. In the period from September to December/January it attains a height of 1,5 to 2,1 m. At this stage the proposed pasture area or land must be prepared. Draw furrows with a cultivator approximately 80 to 100 mm deep and the row spacing 45 cm apart, or closer. One then cuts the stalks down to ground level with a sickle and lay the entire stalk in the prepared furrows. Lay three or four stalks alongside one another, maintaining a reasonable overlap. Cover it up and irrigate. A cardinal feature is that all stalks cut in the morning must be laid in the furrows. Covered up and watered on the same day. It is essential to cover it up and compact it firmly. The first irrigation must be adequate and thereafter the soil must be kept damp. March to October is the planting months. Weed is eliminated during this critical stage.

Surplus stalks can be put in a dam. Small roots and leaves develop in the nodes and within 2 months the plants are ready for transplantation. These long stalks must now be cut into individual plants and transplanted. The dam must have a regular inflow of fresh water to maintain the oxygen content of the water.

The Pasture Research Section at Grootfontein is investigating this grass. At this stage it is clear that it can produce a lot of material in a reasonably short time. Under optimum conditions (enough water and fertilizer) it can produce up to 20 t of dry matter per ha over a period of 4 months. If the fertilizer is left out, this figure is lowered to 11 t/ha.

A small plot of this grass was tested under dryland conditions. Initially 253 individual plants were planted during August 1990 and watered on the day of planting. For the rest of that year the grass depended on the rain. The following months were extremely dry and an average of only 2,9 mm was measured till the end of November 1990. During December the average rainfall was 31 mm and for January 1991 it was 44 mm. During January all the grass plants that have survived, were counted - 74 % was still alive.

Although the rainfall during December and January was good, the water stress experienced previously has taken its toll. The grass never really thrived afterwards. If it had rained sufficiently during September and October the grass would have performed much better under dryland conditions. With enough water and fertilizer (as suggested by Mr Torr), lewensgras can definitely play an important role as an additional pasture on the farm.

Published

Karoo regional newsletter 2

Typical Russian Grass Rhizome runner with 4 tufts of grass (each a genetic clone of the mother plant and each other) which are well known to everyone experienced with Russian Grass. The 4 plants established from these 4 tufts will be self-incompatible and their seed non-viable. However, if they are cross fertilized with a different genetic line they will produce viable seed. The vegetative Russian Grass industry in South Africa stem from just such a single 4 tuffs of grass Rhizome as described by Mr. Torr.

The plants from the Torr line today are still exactly similar to what Mr Torr worked with in his time. They are genetically frozen in time. It is likely that this photo depicts the exact same genetic 4 tuffts of grass that Mr Torr started with, with cutting and cloning perpetuating the genetics vegetatively and eventually allowing more than a Million genetic plant replica’s.

Superior Russian Grass after a hailstorm and heavy grazing

Russian Grass Root Development

Root development from cuttings:
Cuttings produce lateral roots first, and from the lateral roots, much later on a sinker root develop penetrating down vertically for deep subsoil moisture.
Cuttings and their shallow lateral roots do well in a moist irrigated environment or in waterlogged conditions where the moisture are close to the soil surface which the horizontal roots can access.
Cuttings do not produce roots that penetrate very deep, and as such require lots of irrigation for success.
Cuttings depend on other surround Russian Grass plants to provide moist soil conditions close to the soil surface due to shade, microbial activity and stored root reserves.
Pioneer establishment from Russian Grass cuttings require lots of water due to a poor vertical water root system. The cuttings start off with a wrongly positioned root system.
Only later, after 6-12 months, do some sinker roots develop from the main lateral roots.
The reason Russian Grass cuttings produce inferior plants are generally because of inbreeding depression, or an underdeveloped vertical root system. It has the wrong root system for dryland conditions.

Root development from seed:
A newly germinated seedling puts down a vertical taproot first.
The vertical root penetrates down to subsoil moisture as first priority.
The taproot is the water root.
It is the main priority of a newly germinated seedling to get its root down to moisture as soon as possible in order to increase the probability of survival.
The root direction growth of Russian Grass germinated from seedlings is ideal for dryland establishment.
This vertical root development is a much better foundation for dryland establishment than cuttings which has lateral feeder roots.
With seedlings, from the primary vertical water root, lateral horizontal hair roots grow out looking for sustenance and nutrients, after subsoil moisture has been found.
Russian Grass from seed are superior to cuttings generally, due to more hybrid vigour as well as a better developed taproot system better positioned to harness deep subsoil moisture
and leached nutrients.
In optimal conditions, the vertical root can reach down to 1.5 meters, accessing deep subsoil moisture and nutrients.
The reason establishment from seed is easier and more cost effective under dryland conditions, is because the more appropriate vertical water root develops first, unlike with cuttings, which start off with lateral feeding roots.
If you want to weather the maximum heat and moisture stress in the shortest possible space of time, establish Russian Grass plants from seed. Do not transplant, but germinate the seed in its final location. The very best Russian Grass establishment is to germinate seed in a rip line, with easy vertical penetration down to subsoil moisture.
Start with the most appropriate vertical root direction, and allow the most important root to develop first down to subsoil moisture.
Never disturb or spoil the vertical taproot. Do not germinate in black plastic bags or trays as you inhibit the vertical root development and cause the roots to become root bound.
Plant seed in its permanent location, allow it to germinate naturally and allow the best genetics to dominate the race to subsoil moisture and sexual maturity. Allow thosse plants to reseed itself and to cross pollinate.

Russian Grass advantages over Lucerne/Alfalfa

Young Lucerne is roughly 20% protein while young Russian Grass can be up to 30% protein, so both compare well nutritionally during the winter season.
Russian grass does not require cutting, baling, transport and storage, unlike Lucerne. It can be grazed in situ, unless you want to make bales for resale.
Planting 1 hectare of Lucerne at 25 kg of seed cost roughly R20 000.
Planting 1 hectare of Russian Grass at 1-5 kg of seed cost R1000-R10 000.
Lucerne/Alfalfa furthermore requires reseeding every 4-5 years, while Russian Grass is forever and never requires replanting. This is its main advantage, specifically with animal production.
Over a decade, it means that year 1 is the Lucerne establishment year, and year 5 as well as year 10 is Lucerne reseeding years- when a sudden feed scarcity hit the pocket of the livestock producer. Just when your animal numbers are very high you run out of vital and critical feed. Very expensive animal feed then has to be bought in to compensate for the Lucerne production drop-off during the reseeding year. This has caused countless financial disasters for animal producers with inadequate feed reserves.
This means that roughly 30% of the time per decade you are in a Lucerne reseeding phase.
With small ruminants, this is a financial trap, in that you have a rising nutritional plane, twinning and a rapid increase in animal numbers, from year 2-4, with a sudden implosion of feed volume just when you have very high animal numbers.
On Russian Grass, you do not have this feed implosion and reseeding problem. You can sustain your animal production, with a rising nutritional plane and consistent volume per decade. You do not have a recurring feed gap every few years, and you do not need to cut, bale, transport, store and plan for the gap year. All you need to do is fertilize and open the gate for the animals, with in situ grazing. There is no need for a shed full of Lucerne bales.
With Russian Grass you do not have the direct recurring reseeding cost of R20 000 x 3 per decade (R60 000 just in seed cost), nor do you have the hidden risk and cost of having to find alternative feed during the reseeding period (which means buying in food at market rates).
Russian Grass only requires successful establishment a single time, and then it is forever. It is cheaper to reseed it 2 or 3 times in dryland conditions, in the case of lack of follow up rain, untill you get it established, for once you have it, you have it forever. It regenerates from runners and reseeds itself.
Once your animal numbers are up and you are building up momentum with your flock you do not suddenly have a feed crises requiring 30 ton Interlink trucks full of expensive and scarce feed at very high prices.
You can retain your livestock momentum and focus, and to fertilize is optional, but you never need to replant or take a vital paddock out of production.
With Russian Grass paddocks, what you do not need is a shed for storage, tractors, implements, planters, more seed and outside feed suppliers willing to sell to you by the truckload when you have high animal numbers and the lucerne production tapers off.
With Russian Grass you need very little labour to simply open the gate for your livestock to do hard rotational grazing. Once you get going, these fundementals make a big difference, especially in year 5 and year 10. With Livestock, Russian Grass allows extensive low risk low pressure high performance, per decade. 

 

Product and Pricing Information

Commercial Focus of the Green Mamba™ Network:

  1. With Green Mamba™ the focus is to raise the quality of Russian Grass to the S0 100% genetic potential level. A series of specialised growers produce and multiply the F1 Hybrid seed in a planned environment under contract and license. The financial aim is to cut establishment cost in summer rainfall conditions by more than 90% by dropping the volume of seed required. High percentage of F1 Hybrid seeds allows lower establishment costs.
  2. The aim is for on farm trials with smaller amounts of seed. Potential customers would evaluate the establishment threshold in their habitat. This will enable them to determine whether Black Mamba™ seed is sufficient for successful establishment, or whether F1 Green Mamba™ seeds are required. Once customers have determined their needs, larger areas can be established.
  3. The long term goal is to sell large game farms and extensive livestock operators their own grass seed orchards with which they can produce their own F1 seed. Even at 10% establishment rate harvesting and planting seed from a seed orchard is economically viable due to cost saving on feed purchase, higher carrying capacity and higher animal fertility.
  4. Russian Grass is grown for winter feed and direct grazing in the veld.
  5. F1 Hybrid Green Mamba™ seed is marketed internationally via this website.  The seed is initially sold in small lots at higher retail prices for low risk, small area trials. The primary purpose is to determine establishment threshold in a specific habitat.
  6. Once the establishment threshold is determined, the customer enters into a seed producing contract with us, leveraging a much lower price at a fixed date in the future, typically 50% cheaper than the spot price.
  7. Advance payment on this website guarantees a progressive number allotted to your order, with required seed production within 12-24 months. As the harvest comes in, the customer gets seed at the fixed contract price and don’t have to pay the spot price. This ensures a stable seed production and price regime that benefits both parties and a multi-year perspective to build a stable industry without price bubbles.
  8. If this yields the desired results in the on farm trials, we suggest that the customer procures a Green Mamba™ seed orchard of roughly 1 hectare, in order to self-produce many hundreds of kilograms of seed annually at a very low unit cost for non- commercial, farm use.
  9. This allows us to achieve our aim of high F1 Hybrid Green Mamba™ seed, at the S0 100% genetic potential performance curve, with 70-80% viable F1 seeds per kg, with a low unit cost, allowing cost effective high risk establishment in risky and erratic summer rainfall areas.
  10. Green Mamba™ will also grow seed on a large scale in volume for customers not interested in seed orchards. 12-24 months are needed for large orders.
  11. However, if the small 1-hectare seed orchard is a success, large 5000 ha game farms may wish to increase this to 10 hectares of seed orchard in order to produce 3-5 tons of seed annually, with the aim to aerial seed their land for a few years until the desired stand, carrying capacity, and 12-month nutritional plane have been achieved.
  12. It is our opinion that in some years with normal to good rainfall good stands of Green Mamba™ can be established, from which the plant will self-generate via rhizome runners for decades to come. However, in very dry or drought stricken years, total establishment failure from seed may happen.
  13. On a per decade basis, Green Mamba™ is successfully established a single time, it will generally persist and survive the drought of later years, provided it has already established its deep taproot when the heat and moisture stress come. This winter forage then saves large amounts of money in terms of winter feeding, especially for wild game farms.
  14. Once Russian Grass is established, the purpose of an on- farm DIY seed orchard is to produce high quality, high proportion F1 seed annually, at low unit cost. The seed can then be sown regardless of the climatic risk, with long term establishment success, over a longer period of time, provided seeding occurs every year.
  15. Small scale trials lead to bigger scale trials and eventually to small scale seed orchards and eventually to larger scale seed orchards. We are not in the seed business, but in the seed orchard business.

Breakdown of our Green Mamba™ Price Structure:

Black Mamba™ Irrigation Grass:

What is Black Mamba™?

Black Mamba™ is Russian Grass grown from grass seed with 10% hybrid vigour F1 seeds. The diverse seeds are a result of years of cross pollination which caused a genetic shift due to environmental pressure (natural selection). Some naturally occurring F1 hybrid cross seeds totaling roughly 10% are found in Black Mamba.

  • This genetic line was an attempt to breed a F1 hybrid from various seed sources.
  • It contains 1-10% F1 Hybrid seeds.
  • 8-10 kg per ha of seed is required in order to equal 1kg of Seed from Green Mamba™ (in terms of the rough number of viable F1 seeds).
  • This grass is suited to irrigation areas sown at a density of 8-10 kg per ha.
  • It is not recommended for extensive use because the high level of not F1 hybrid -seeds consume soil moisture, which lowers the establishment percentage of the F1 plants.
  • This seed is meant to evaluate your minimum establishment threshold, and not meant for seed orchard purposes.

Green Mamba™:  

  • This genetic line is produced from 90 000 individually planned clumps of grass per hectare with the express aim to have 70-80% F1 grass seeds per kg.
  • It is expensive to produce, requires irrigation, and is only produced on order at this stage.
  • One kg bag delivers the same results as 8-10 kg of Black Mamba™ without the lower quality S1 genetics and water wastage.
  • Ideal for both irrigation and extensive establishment.
  • Not meant for seed orchard purposes.

Spot Price, via Dealers:

Stocks are limited – and orders larger than our current remaining harvest volume we contract out for next season’s production:

100 grams R500 +R65 Rand shipping

200 grams R1000 +R75 shipping

1-4 kg R3000 per kg +R95 shipping

5 -10 kg R2000 per kg. +R180 shipping

1 ton plus = seed orchard recommended at R100 000 per ha of seed orchard producing 300-500 kg of seed at annual cost of fertilisation, irrigation and harvesting. For own use only.

Transport shipments takes 2 days to a street address/Po Box by courier. We ship in less than 7 days, depending on order flow.

If you are planting livestock feed and not doing trials, be sure to buy enough to establish roughly 1 hectare with careful sowing into a weed free prepared seedbed, and with supplemental irrigation during establishment. If you are doing establishment trials the general aim of the trial is to evaluate the minimum establishment threshold in your unique climatic and soil conditions.

Terms of Sale:

  • You understand that these proprietary seed cultivars are meant for trial and evaluation purposes.
  • You carry all the normal climatic and establishment risks while you master it.
  • You agree that the full Intellectual Property rights, Trademarks and commercial rights of the seed belong to Green Mamba™ and that you will only use the seed for your own internal use only. You understand and agree that commercial seed use require licensing in all cases everywhere always.
  • You agree not to sell the seed to anyone without our written permission but to only use it on your own property for yourself.
  • Any purchase of our genetics, use of our genetics or interaction with our genetics mean that you fully accept these legal terms.  

Contract Seed Production Price for Green Mamba™:

  • R1000 per kg, 100% paid in advance, with a 12-24 month waiting period, with a minimum order of 100 kg. We produce this on order only. Only for serious customers. Only when we have surplus seed, do we push it into the spot market.
  • 10 kg of seed is suitable for extensive establishment method trials, including hand planting in thorn bush with a back-saver hand planter; direct drilling of firebreaks and open road areas; simulated aerial seeding; and dribbling of seed under a tractor tire.  You can also make use of Hydro seeding by spraying the seed into harder to reach areas using a firefighter.
  • The aim of contracted seed is to evaluate the genetics in larger scale establishment method trials and experiments in different areas of habitat, planting dates and establishment challenges. This relates to ripping; making furrows; spraying knockdown herbicides; burning dry vegetation before seeding; and using vehicle tyres to press seed into the soil immediately after it has rained on burned areas. Once satisfied with trials, customers may procure seed orchards for projects or farms and produce 70-80% F1 seeds per kg of Green Mamba™ Seed at sub R100 per kg.

On Farm Seed Orchard Price:

  • The goal of your own Green Mamba™ seed orchard is to produce S0 100% of genetic potential F1 seeds at a density of roughly 70-80% per kg. Seed orchards initially improve the quality of pasture, and then reduce the price per kg of viable F1 seeds.
  • A F1 Hybrid Green Mamba™ seed orchard production facility typically cost R100 000 per hectare of seed orchard, not including hand labour during establishment, fertilisation, and irrigation cost. One hectare of seed orchard is enough to produce roughly 300-500 kg of seed annually. It takes two years until the first full commercial seed harvest.
  • Note that this is a contractual agreement with a non-disclosure, non-compete agreement for non-commercial own use on the farm. Resale involves a franchise royalty that can be paid as a percentage of the seed produced and which is contractually agreed.
  • With each 100 kg of F1 Green Mamba™ Seed (5-6 billion seeds) produced in a seed orchard 10% (60 million clumps of grass) can be successfully established in extensive conditions in a normal year, and up to 80% in intensive conditions. Each clump is worth up to roughly 1 kg of edible material on a DM basis.
  • The goal with DIY seed production is to enable customers to sustain forage under challenging conditions, and eliminate the purchase of expensive winter feed.
  • The seed can be spread with a helicopter, microlight, or fixed wing aircraft and remain viable for up to 3 years.
  • F1 Hybrid Green Mamba™ seed provides the genetics for sustained forage, but customers will need to experiment with the various planting methods for their specific climate, habitat and soil nutrition. This is why initial small scale trials are recommended.
  • Production protocol and guidelines are provided to bring about the best results.

Dry-season Russian Grass.

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