Tippera tall grass plain pastures in the Kimberley

Page last updated: Thursday, 23 May 2019 - 9:42am

There are many different pasture types in the pastoral rangelands in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. We provide this pasture information to be used as a reference for assessing pasture condition, and as a guide for pastoral station staff and others interested in the productivity and maintenance of the pastoral rangelands.

Assessments can be used to monitor the success of management and to set goals for improving rangeland condition.

Tippera tall grass plain pastures

These pastures are part of the Kimberley sandy soil group pastures, and the perennials kangaroo grass, plume sorghum and ribbon grasses are the identifier grasses. Use the interactive key to pasture condition to help identify pasture type.

Pastoral value

Tippera tall grass plain pastures are considered to have moderate pastoral value when in good condition. Kangaroo grass has been reported to decline quickly under heavy grazing; however, these pastures appear to be quite resilient under low stocking rates in the East Kimberley. Annual grasses are considered only marginally more productive than bare ground in this pasture type.


Tippera tall grass plain pastures occur on level to gently undulating plains in wetter areas of the Ord – Victoria Plain. They occur as grasslands in eucalypt woodlands on red to yellow sandy and loamy soils. There may be patches of heavier soil within the typical sands and loams.

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Pasture condition

Good: In good pasture condition, dominant species can include kangaroo grass, plume sorghum, white grass and ribbon grass. Other perennial grasses, such as black speargrass and bundle-bundle, may be present in small patches and can be scattered throughout the stand (Figure 1).

Photograph of tippera tall grass plain pasture in good condition
Figure 1 Tippera tall grass plain pasture in good condition in the Kimberley (photograph taken June 2008).  A There is a dense coverage of kangaroo grass, a desirable perennial, in this pasture type.

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Fair: As the desirable grasses are grazed out, intermediate species, such as wire grass, become more obvious and may dominate the stand in fair condition. Threeawns and annual sorghum (both considered undesirable species in this pasture type) may begin to increase (Figure 2).

Photograph of tippera tall grass plain pasture in fair condition
Figure 2 Tippera tall grass plain pasture in fair condition in the Kimberley (photograph taken June 2008).  A Kangaroo grass, a desirable species, is still present, making up about one-third of the stand.  B Annual sorghum and threeawns, both undesirable species, are becoming prominent.  C Pan Wanderrie grass, an intermediate species, has increased.

Poor: In poor condition, the space between perennial grass tussocks increases because of grazing and the stand is usually dominated by annual grasses, particularly annual sorghum. Annual sorghum is only palatable when very young, and it has little bulk and very low nutritional value after it has hayed off. Other undesirable species, such as threeawns, are often present. There may be significant areas of bare ground (Figure 3).

Photograph of tippera tall grass plain pasture in poor condition
Figure 3 Tippera tall grass plain pasture in poor condition (photograph taken November 2008).  A The desirable kangaroo grass is still present, but infrequent.  B The undesirable annual sorghum has increased and is now dominant.

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Associated plants

Plants associated with Tippera tall grass plain pastures in the Kimberley
Common name
(link to DPIRD species page)
Scientific name
(link to FloraBase)
Life form
Desirable species    

Kangaroo grass

Themeda triandra


Plume sorghum

Sorghum plumosum


Ribbon grass

Chrysopogon fallax



Dichanthium fecundum


White grass

Sehima nervosum


Intermediate species    

Wire grass, northern Wanderrie grass

Eriachne obtusa


Pan Wanderrie grass

Eriachne glauca


Curly spinifex

Triodia bitextura


Undesirable species    

Threeawn grasses

Aristida spp.

annual or perennial

Annual sorghum

Sorghum stipoideum


Contact information

Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019
Kath Ryan
+61 (0)8 9166 4015