An experiment was undertaken on the Lilongwe Plain to compare the produc-tivity or eight Cultivars of Panicum with Chloris gayana under frequent defoliation and a low input of fertilizer. P. maximum cv. 'Ntchisi', a local collection, produced the highest mean yield of herbage and crude protein (CP) for the three seasons. Two other cultivars P. maximum cv. 'Hamil' and P. coloratum cv. 'Bushman Mine' also yielded more than C. gayana. Although GP contents did not vary significantly most of the Panicum cultivars had a higher digestible organic matter content. Germination problems with P. maximum are discussed.