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Sheep grazing on healthy pasture

Programmed Approach to Pasture Renewal

Step 10

Introduce new pasture management


  • A pasture should not be considered successfully established until there is a dense, well-tillered pasture that has survived a summer. Pasture management through this time has a significant impact on its future performance.
  • Management of a new perennial pasture in the first 12 months sets pasture up for long term performance and persistence. Mismanagement of pasture is a common occurrence which severely reduces performance and persistence.
  • First grazing can occur at approximately 6-8 weeks after sowing. Ensure that the pasture is consolidated enough so that pulling and pugging are negated. A basic “pull test” will help decide if pastures are ready to graze.
  • Ensure pastures are regularly grazed (no higher than 2500kgDM/ha no lower than 1500kgDM/ha in the first 12 months). This allows the pasture to reach the 2.5-3 leaf stage (ryegrass example) before grazing ensuring individual plants build up energy reserves required for tillering and root growth.
  • Do not leave new pasture beyond the third leaf stage as low light levels at the base of the canopy will shade new tillers and clover.
  • This practice of grazing from the third leaf down to an even residual of 1500kgDM/ha should be carried out until the pasture is fully established.
  • Avoid cutting paddocks for hay or silage in the first 12 months.
  • Spray with a selective broadleaf chemical that is safe to use on clovers at 5-6 weeks after sowing. This will control germinating broadleaf weeds in the new pasture crop. Broadleaf weed competes with tillering grass for space, light, and moisture.
  • Applying nitrogen regularly during establishment will encourage tillering and growth.

Continue to implement ongoing pasture management

Many recommendations for new pasture management continue to apply after the establishment period as persistence is all about maintaining tillers and root mass. A well-established pasture will be more resilient to typical seasonal stresses and grazing requirements; however, a higher standard of ongoing management will considerably extend the lifespan of a pasture.

  • Ensure that fertiliser requirements are met according to a soil test, yield targets, and control broadleaf weeds.
  • During challenging seasons, timely and appropriate adjustment of stocking rates, grazing residuals, and round lengths is essential for recovery and persistence.
  • Pasture renewal, particularly with modern cultivars and endophytes, presents the opportunity for improved farm productivity. This has been demonstrated in trial comparisons and on many farms throughout the country. The persistence of new perennial pastures has been maintained in the breeding process. Keep in mind that the cultivar and endophyte options need to be used appropriately to cope with the modern grazing demands and challenges presented by the seasons. Attention to detail is vital and doing the basics really well will deliver results.

Following the DLF Seeds Programmed Approach™ will improve your pastures and allow you to achieve optimal pasture performance and value whilst providing you with homegrown feed all year round.

For more information on the Programmed Approach™ and DLF Seeds varieties, contact us today.