African fox tail (cenchrus ciliaris) or Buffel grass

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African fox tail (cenchrus ciliaris) or Buffel grass is a perennial grass that forms spreading tufts. There are three varieties i.e. the short, medium and the tall type. The height of growth ranges from 35cm, 75cm and 100cm respectively. The grass is strong, large and deeply rooted therefore can withstand considerable amount of drought.

african fox tail

The grass is very palatable; it can be cultivated for hay production but its nutritive value is not high. Although it can withstand drought the grass is a low producer.

The grass is grown in marginal areas with rainfall of about 300 – 700 mm/yr. it can grow in soils with moderate to low fertility. However the soils should not be waterlogged. The grass is established from seeds stored at least 1½ to 2 years before planting to break dormancy.

The seeds are small so a well prepared fine seedbed is needed. The seeding rate is 1 – 2 kg/ha and seeds should be covered in a carrier (sand or sawdust) if planting is mechanical.

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