In many pastures where black speargrass (Heteropogon contortus) is dominant, it indicates fair pasture condition. It is an intermediate species in most pastures because it tends to be an invader on better pasture types. In black speargrass pastures, it is considered a desirable species, though it is not a useful indicator species.
Black speargrass is moderately palatable to livestock when green. Once mature, it becomes rank and unpalatable. A cool burn when there is still some soil moisture will encourage 'green pick' which is palatable to livestock.
Grows on a variety of soils, but more common on red soils.
Black speargrass is an upright, leafy perennial grass that can grow to 100cm tall, with slender branched stems. The leaf blades are long and narrow when green and redden with age. The seed heads consist of a single closely spaced spike about 10–15cm long. These characteristically tangle together when mature. It flowers from February to May.