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Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum)


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Bahia grass, bahiagrass, common bahia [English]; herbe de Bahia [French]; pasto bahia, alpargata, cañamazo, grama dulce, pasto horqueta, sacasebo, jengibrillo [Spanish]; grama-bahia, grama-batatais, grama-forquilha, grama-mato-grosso, grama-pensacola [Portuguese]; rumput pencasilan [Malay]; cỏ san dấu [Vienamese]; بسبالوم نوثاثوم [Arabic]; 百喜草 [Chinese]; バヒアグラス [Japanese]


Paspalum notatum var. latiflorum Döll ; Paspalum notatum var. notatum (USDA, 2009)


Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) is a perennial rhizomatous grass, up to 1 m high, notable for its prominent, dual V-shaped inflorescences (6 cm long). Its root system can be up to 2 m deep. Several commercial cultivars are available. It is mostly used for pasture (FAO, 2009).


Paspalum notatum is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. It is widespread in North America and in some areas of Africa, Asia (Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam) and Australia (Baki et al., 1992). It grows from sea level to an altitude of 2000 m, and in regions with annual rainfall from 750 mm to 2000 mm. Optimal mean temperature is 20°C. It is very tolerant to drought and to a lesser extent to salinity when well established. It is known to survive 20 to 36 days of flooding.

Forage management 

Paspalum notatum yields 3-20 t/ha/year but its nutritive value drops quickly after the seedling stage and it is recommended to respect a six week cutting interval to maintain forage quality. It withstands heavy grazing (FAO, 2009).

Environmental impact 

Because of its deep roots, Paspalum notatum is often used to prevent or stop soil erosion on slopes or terraces (Baki et al., 1992). It is grown as a ley in four year rotations to reduce nematode damage in tomato and peanut crops (Cook et al., 2005).

Nutritional aspects
Potential constraints 

Slight toxicity may exist in strains susceptible to the paspalum ergot (Claviceps paspali). A low level of HCN content has been reported but is unlikely to cause problems (FAO, 2009).


Paspalum notatum is nutritious, especially when used young or at early stage of regrowth. It is usually recommended for beef cattle rather than for dairy production (FAO, 2009). It is widely used as a component of intensively grazed pastures. Its palatability is good when young but decreases with age, and maintaining grazing pressure is necessary to avoid this. Some cultivars are more palatable than others. Addition of N fertilizer may improve intake since it enhances protein content (Cook et al., 2005).

Freshly ground Paspalum notatum was shown to retain nutrient quality when maturing (Arthington et al., 2005). In Japan, Paspalum notatum pasture was well utilized by breeding cows and provided sufficient digestible energy and protein (Hirata et al., 2003). In steers, Paspalum notatum had the lowest crude protein and NDF digestibility levels when compared with limpograss (Hemarthria altissima), stargrass (Cynodon nlemfuensis) and bluestem (Schizachyrium stoloniferum) (Horton et al., 1994).

In sheep, the feeding value of fresh Paspalum notatum was better than dwarf bamboo (Pleioblastus argenteostriatus f. glaber) (Yayota et al., 2009).


Information is very scarce in the international literature on the use of  bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) in rabbit feeding. According to some authors Bahiagrass is normally consumed by wild rabbits (Reiter, 2008). Domestic rabbits were used in Japan to evaluated the digestibility of this forage cut at different stages (Miaki et al., 1970). Chopped forage was used during the study as sole feed without problems, demonstrating that fresh Bahia grass could be used as source of forage for rabbits, at least for short periods (digestibilty studies). The calculated digestible energy content of the fresh forage is about 7 MJ/kg DM, and the protein digestibility 33% corresponding to about 4.7 g digestible protein /kg DM (Lebas,2016). These values are clearly lower than those recommended even for simple maintenance of rabbits liveweight (de Blas et al., 2010).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 24.7   24.1 25.3 2  
Crude protein % DM 14.2 4.1 6.0 19.9 18  
Crude fibre % DM 31.5 2.7 28.1 34.5 4  
NDF % DM 66.9 6.3 61.8 81.4 18 *
ADF % DM 37.0 5.7 26.2 41.9 18 *
Lignin % DM 4.7 2.4 0.3 6.4 17 *
Ether extract % DM 2.4 1.2 1.2 4.0 4  
Ash % DM 10.7 2.9 6.8 13.5 4  
Water-soluble carbohydrates % DM 2.3       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.1         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 6.5       1  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 20.5       1  
Potassium g/kg DM 16.2       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.1       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.1       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 67.1 1.6 59.4 67.1 4 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 64.1         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.3         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 73.8   70.2 77.4 2  
a (N) % 4.5   2.6 6.4 2  
b (N) % 90.8   88.1 93.5 2  
c (N) h-1 0.029   0.028 0.029 2  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 42         *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 34   33 34 2 *
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 40.6         *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 7.4         *

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


Arthington et al., 2005; Chavancy, 1951; INFIC, 1978; Krueger et al., 2008; Muntifering et al., 2000; Nasrullah et al., 2003; Yayota et al., 2009

Last updated on 02/05/2013 16:37:51

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 91.1 1
Crude protein % DM 9.7 2.2 7.2 12.3 5
Crude fibre % DM 33.5 1
NDF % DM 68.8 0.7 68.8 73.8 4 *
ADF % DM 39.2 1.7 36.5 39.8 3 *
Lignin % DM 5.2 0.5 5.2 6.2 3 *
Ether extract % DM 1.4 1
Ash % DM 7.8 2.5 5.5 11.4 4
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.3 *
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 4.6 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 60.8 60.3 63.8 2 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 57.3 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.5 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.5 *

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


Flores et al., 1993; Foster et al., 2009; Horton et al., 1994; INFIC, 1978

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:11

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Lebas F., 2021. Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/402 Last updated on February 2, 2021, 15:05