Eragrostis is a wiry, perennial grass that is native to South Africa. It was introduced into the United States in 1927, and is now widely used as a fodder crop in the USA . There are numerous species, differing somewhat in palatability, with conferta and robusta heading the list, and curvula being less palatable. Acceptability to stock declines rapidly with age of growth, some genotypes becoming fibrous and unpalatable sooner than other. Chopped, dusty hay was found to be less palatable than whole grass.
Eragrostis is invaluable both as a pasture species for early spring grazing, and for hay making after the winter shortages as it commences growth earlier in the season than most other summer growing fodder types. Its popularity as a hay crop is for the reason that it is relatively easy to cure. The quality of the pasture as grazing or of the hay produced is dependent on fertilisation, the fertility status of the soil, rainfall, and the stage of utilisation.
Hay that is made from eragrostis reaped in the spring is softer and greener, and much more palatable than the cuttings of late summer, when the leaves and stalks become very fibrous and difficult for stock to break off or digest. It makes good hay if cut before it becomes too tough, and owing to the production costs which are considerably lower than that of teff, it is a preferred form of roughage for cattle and horses.