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Scrobic (Paspalum scrobiculatum) forage and grain

Description and recommendations

Common names

Scrobic, kodo millet, koda millet, kodra, mijo koda, ditch millet, creeping paspalum, indian paspalum, water couch, herbe à épée, ricegrass


Paspalum cartilagineum J. Presl, Paspalum commersonii Lam., Paspalum orbiculare G. Forst., Paspalum polystachyum R. Br., Paspalum scrobiculatum var. commersonii (Lam.) Stapf, Paspalum scrobiculatum var. polystachyum (R. Br.) Stapf

Related feed(s)


Scrobic (Paspalum scrobiculatum L.) is a vigorous, tufted (up to 60 cm diameter) and slender perennial grass. It is 0.3-1 m tall. The roots are rather shallow and the stems are ascending, branched and somewhat succulent. Leaf blades are 15-40 cm long, 5-12 mm wide, pale green. Leave-sheath and leaves are glabrous. The inflorescence is a panicle, generally consisting of 3-4 racemes, 4-9 cm long. The spikelets are arranged in two or three rows. Seeds are ellipsoidal, 2 mm long and 1.5 mm wide and light brown coloured (Ecoport, 2010; Galinato et al., 1999).

There are two forms of scrobic:

  • Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum var. scrobiculatum), is cultivated as an annual. It has been cultivated for 3000 years in India where it is considered as a minor cereal crop exept in the Deccan where it is a cereal of utmost importance. It is grown as a single crop or as the major cereal in mixed cultures. The seeds are used as human food: grains are ground into meal and used for puddings (Quattrocchi, 2006). In Africa, it is harvested as a wild cereal (FAO/ICRISAT, 1996) and is mainly considered as a famine food (NRC, 1996). Kodo millet varies considerably: light red grains are said to be sweet tasting and dark gray ones to be bitter (Galinato et al., 1999). Yields are from 450 to 900 kilograms of grain per hectare in kodo millet (Stephen et al., 1986). Kodo millet is well suited to dry conditions (Galinato et al., 1999).
  • Wild scrobic (Paspalum scrobiculatum var. commersonii), is perennial and mostly found in damp places. Wild scrobic is used for pasture and hay or as standover. It is also sometimes used for compost or mulch (FAO, 2010; Galinato et al., 1999; Baki et al., 1992). It withstands moderate grazing and requires rest periods to permit sufficient seeding for regeneration. Wild scrobic yields 3-10 t DM forage/ha (Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010).

Wild scrobic often invades kodo millet fields and hybridizes with it, making it difficult to distinguish in the field the wild and cultivated scrobic complexes (de Wet et al., 1983). Wild scrobic populations can disappear several years after sowing (Bryan et al., 1973) and in one case it declined rapidly when the pasture was invaded by spear grass (Heteropogon contortus) and Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) (Bisset et al., 1974).


Scrobic originated from Africa and is now widely spread in the Old World tropics. It was first introduced to India and is now cultivated in parts of Asia. Scrobic is common in upland rice in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam and present in Bangladesh and Myanmar (Galinato et al., 1999). Scrobic was introduced to Australia from Zimbabwe in 1931 (FAO, 2010).

Scrobic is commonly found on disturbed sites or as a weed in cropping land (Galinato et al., 1999). It is found from sea level up to 1.500 m altitude. It has no particular climatic preference provided that the average day temperatures are comprised between 25-27°C and no frost occurs. The soil should remain wet (annual rainfall ranging from 800-1600 mm). It is well adapted to waterlogged or flooded soils. Scrobic thrives in cultivated fields, pastures, and marshes and along roadsides, dikes, bunds, and canals. Wild scrobic has only limited drought tolerance as it has relatively shallow roots. Kodo millet thrives in drier conditions (Ecoport, 2010; FAO, 2010; Galinato et al., 1999).

Scrobic prefers very fertile and very clayey soils. It responds well to fertilization (Galinato et al., 1999; Baki et al., 1992) but tolerates poor soil fertility if the competition is low. Scrobic prefers full sunlight but, as it can tolerate and flourish with only 30-50% sunlight, it is found in young rubber and oil palm plantations or black pepper farms (Baki et al., 1992).

Environmental impact


Scrobic is an aggressive colonizer of disturbed areas and commonly invades agricultural fields (e.g. rice fields, sorghum fields). It is considered as a noxious weed in the USA and is potentially invasive in the Pacific (GISD, 2010; USDA, 2010; Galinato et al., 1999, Le Bourgeois et al., 1995; Baki et al., 1992).

Soil erosion control

Scrobic may have some value as a cover crop in its ecological niche (FAO, 2010).

Potential constraints

Paspalum ergot

During their development, scrobic seeds can be attacked by the paspalum ergot (Claviceps paspali) whose sclerotia grow instead of the grains. These sclerotia contain an alkaloid that may be fatal to both humans and animals (Baki et al., 1992). Other fungi (Sorosporium paspali and Uredo paspali-scrobiculari), that are almost invariably present in the outer husks of the grain, may also be responsible for scrobic toxicity (Baki et al., 1992). Symptoms of ergotism in affected animals are associated with central nervous derangement and appear in the following order: excitement, distrust of people and a tendency to attack. Later, animals may tremble, appear to lack muscular control, stagger and fall. Affected animals may recover in a few days if removed from infected areas in the early stages of excitement (Cook et al., 2005; FAO, 2010; McMullen et al., 1998).

In order to prevent poisoning, the seeds of kodo millet are carefully removed from the outer husks and are winnowed to scatter the spores, so that only clean and healthy grains are used as food (Galinato et al., 1999).

However, scrobic appears less susceptible to Claviceps paspali than Paspalum dilatatum (FAO, 2010). In Australia, no cases of ergot poisoning has been noticed in grazing animals (Baki et al., 1992).


Kodo millet grains are frequently infested by Aspergillus tamarii Kita which produces cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), a mycotoxin producing acute hepatotoxicty in humans and animals (Antony et al., 2003).

Oxalic acid

Scrobic forage contains 0.23 % DM of total oxalic acid but does not cause toxicity (FAO, 2010).


Wild scrobic forage is palatable at all stages and is readily eaten by cattle and buffaloes (Quattrocchi, 2006; Galinato et al., 1999). It was reported to be the one of the most heavily grazed herbage species for cattle, sheep and goats in Ghana (Tetteh, 1974).

Composition and digestibility

In Australia, the nutritive value of wild scrobic was found to be highly variable throughout the year. It was readily eaten and highly digestible up to flowering (70-75 % DM digestibility and 50-70% crude protein digestibility). After frosting, intake and digestibility decreased a lot: DM digestibility was down to 30 % and crude protein digestibility became negative (Milford, 1960). In Bangladesh, an intermediate OM digestibility of 54 % was recorded (Zaharaby et al., 2001). Protein content was very low in Australia (2.8 to 7.3 % DM) (Milford, 1960), but higher (11.7 % DM) in Bangladesh (Zaharaby et al., 2001).


Beef cattle

Scrobic pastures have been particularly studied in the context of beef cattle production in Australia, where it is able to support production in the summer months (December to March). Due to its high frost susceptibility, scrobic is unsuitable for continuously grazed pastures in areas where severe frosts are recorded, but it can be valuable in frost-free areas and can be a very useful subtropical pasture grass (Milford, 1960). For beef cattle, scrobic seems to have a nutritive value similar to that of pangola grass (Digitaria eriantha) but more variable (Bryan, 1968). At a stocking rate of 1.67 head/ha, scrobic pasture resulted in a liveweight gain of 240 kg/ha/year on young beef cattle, sligthly lower than with pangola and much lower than with Paspalum dilatatum (315 kg/ha/year). A a higher stocking rate (2.5 head/ha), scrobic gave higher performances than pangola, Paspalum dilatatum and Paspalum plicatulum (345 vs 305, 246 and 223 kg/ha/year respectively) (Bryan, 1968). When grazed as a component of a sown complex pasture mixture, light stocking rates (about 1.7 head/ha) are preferable (Bryan et al., 1973).


Pure scrobic pastures supported much higher stocking rates for sheep (>40 sheep/ha during 4 months) than liverseed grass (Urochloa panicoides), Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus) and Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) (Paltridge, 1955).

Silage and hay

It made good silage in Panama when 10 percent molasses was added (Medling, 1972), and it makes excellent hay (Paltridge, 1955).


Scrobic straw has a low protein content (lower than 4% DM) (Patel et al., 1959). Intake of scrobic straw by dairy cows (8.5 g/kg W) was found to be intermediate between that of wheat straw (7.7 g/kg W) and that of rice straw (10.6 g/kg W). Its organic matter digestibility (55.9 %) was lower than for the other straws (wheat: 62.5; rice: 66.2 %) and a negative nitrogen balance was observed. Protein supplementation is required (Patel et al., 1961).


Kodo millet

Weanling pigs from 8 to 32 weeks may be fed on kodo millet used as total maize replacer with no deleterious effect on growth, feed intake or feed conversion (Bhadauria et al., 1988).


Kodo millet

Kodo millet should not be included at more than 25% in broiler diets. Higher inclusion levels cause losses, lower body weight gain and results in higher production costs (Saraf et al., 2009).


Heuzé V., Tran G., Giger-Reverdin S., 2012. Scrobic (Paspalum scrobiculatum) forage and grain. A programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. Last updated on June 19, 2012, 19:38


Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 28.7 5.1 21.8 38.0 17  
Crude protein % DM 8.1 2.5 3.9 12.8 21  
Crude fibre % DM 33.5 4.1 28.2 42.4 20  
NDF % DM 69.2         *
ADF % DM 39.2         *
Lignin % DM 5.2         *
Ether extract % DM 1.5 0.5 0.6 2.6 18  
Ash % DM 11.1 2.9 6.9 16.2 21  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.6         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 3.7 1.3 1.7 6.7 18  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.9 0.9 0.6 3.3 18  
Potassium g/kg DM 20.0 5.8 10.2 27.6 14  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.1   0.0 0.1 2  
Magnesium g/kg DM 3.5 0.9 1.8 5.1 14  
Manganese mg/kg DM 266   258 273 2  
Zinc mg/kg DM 27   27 27 2  
Copper mg/kg DM 7   5 9 2  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 63.1         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 60.3         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.6         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


CIRAD, 1991; Sen et al., 1965; Sen, 1938; Zaharaby et al., 2001

Last updated on 27/11/2012 15:48:53

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 88.4 1
Crude protein % DM 12.0 1
Crude fibre % DM 11.3 1
Ether extract % DM 4.8 1
Ash % DM 5.0 1
Starch (polarimetry) % DM 67.5 1
Total sugars % DM 1.4 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.6 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 5.7 1
Phosphorus g/kg DM 32.1 1
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Arginine % protein 3.9 1
Cystine % protein 1.1 1
Glycine % protein 4.6 1
Histidine % protein 2.1 1
Isoleucine % protein 3.1 1
Leucine % protein 10.4 1
Lysine % protein 3.6 1
Methionine % protein 1.9 1
Phenylalanine % protein 5.6 1
Threonine % protein 2.7 1
Tryptophan % protein 0.9 1
Tyrosine % protein 4.1 1
Valine % protein 4.6 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 71.7 *
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 72.4 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 13.5 *
MEn growing pig MJ/kg DM 13.0 *
NE growing pig MJ/kg DM 10.2 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Kadkol et al., 1954; Krishnakumari et al., 1995; Swaminathan et al., 1970

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:00

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 88.3 1
Crude protein % DM 13.1 1
Crude fibre % DM 0.5 1
Ether extract % DM 1.5 1
Ash % DM 1.1 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.3 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 4.0 1
Phosphorus g/kg DM 13.7 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 92.3 *
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 89.3 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 16.3 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Kadkol et al., 1954

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:00

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Crude protein % DM 3.5 1
Crude fibre % DM 34.3 1
Ether extract % DM 1.5 1
Ash % DM 12.3 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.1 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Sen, 1938

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:00



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