Swazi grass is mainly used as pasture for cattle, especially zebu. In French Guiana it is well adapted and readily eaten by cattle (Béreau, 1995). Stocking rate must be limited and fertilizer applied regularly in order to maintain the pasture (Huguenin, 2008). Swazi grass should be used at a young stage (30 days) of regrowth (Xandé et al., 1977). In spite of its rather low overall nutritive value, its in vitro DM digestibility was found to be high (62%) and it has a higher energy content than several other tropical forages (Aumont et al., 1995).
In permanent grazing systems (5 head/ha), swazi grass without supplementation has sustained about 0.5 kg/head daily weight gain in zebu cattle. This result was even obtained over a long period, taking into account the deleterious effect of the dry season on animal performance (weight losses of about 100-200 g/day) (Béreau et al., 1992; Rouville et al., 1989). On a rotational management system of 28 days, with a 4.5 bullocks/ha stocking rate, over 500 g live weight gain can be expected (Cunha et al., 1975). During dry periods, swazi grass was able to maintain live weight where native or Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) plus clover pastures failed (Campbell et al., 2009).
For sheep, the voluntary DM intake of swazi grass varies from 53 to 72.4 g/kg W0.75, with highest values with very young grass (Aumont et al., 1995; Michalet-Doreau et al., 1979).