Growing profit from the ground up

Pasture Improvement Initiative

Phalaris (Phalaris aquatica)

Phalaris offers persistence in a varying climate

Phalaris offers persistence in a varying climate

Amid debate over its toxicity risk, phalaris continues to quietly outperform many of its contemporaries, proving a profitable inclusion in many pasture mixes.

Key features

Common name: Phalaris

Scientific name: Phalaris aquatica

Minimum average annual rainfall:

  • 400mm (South Australia)
  • 400 – 450mm (Victoria)
  • 500 – 550mm (southern NSW)
  • 650mm (north west slopes NSW)

Optimal growing temperature: 15 – 25 °C (frost tolerant)

Preferred soils: Deep, fertile, heavier-textured soils with a pH above 4.5 (CaCl2)


  • Excellent drought tolerance
  • Bountiful dry matter production
  • Responsive to increased soil fertility
  • Grazing tolerant
  • Grows in a wide range of soil types
  • Moderately waterlogging and salt tolerant
  • Few pests and diseases
  • Deep root system helps dry soil profile and reduces rates of soil acidification


  • Relatively slow to establish (similar to cocksfoot and tall fescue)
  • Low production in establishment year
  • Seedlings sensitive to competition form annual grasses
  • Sensitive to acid soils
  • Unsuitable for low-fertility soils
  • Potential toxicity to stock
  • Requires sound management to persist in marginal areas

More information

Fact sheets

Grazing phalaris for production and persistence (EverGraze)

Phalaris pasture AgNote (NSW DPI)

Temperate perennial grasses (DAFWA)

Choosing phalaris (CSIRO)

Case studies

Richard Gardner, Tasmania (dairy, sheep, cropping)

Simon Foster, Tasmania (sheep, cattle, cropping)

Peter and Regina Dooley, Victoria (prime lambs, dairy heifers and cropping)