Managing new pastures

Pasture establishment takes at least 12 months. Good management during this time gets it off to a strong start and helps it persist. A pasture should not be considered successfully established until you have a dense, well tillered sward one year after sowing.


Management of new pastures 


First grazing

The most critical grazing is the first one and should occur as soon as the grass plants do not pull out of the ground. Light grazing promotes grass tillering and growth. Early grazing also benefits slower establishing species, like clover and herbs, allowing light to reach them. Young clover plants are usually smaller, and susceptible to shading.


Weed control

Monitor new pastures closely for emerging weeds. Weeds compete aggressively with young grass, clovers and herbs, reducing pasture longevity. They should be sprayed early when they are still small and easier to control (typically before or after first grazing). If you do need to spray, make sure the herbicide is safe for other sown species.

Subsequent grazings

From the second grazing onwards, new pastures grow rapidly and need frequent grazing. Apply small amounts of nitrogen to boost growth and tillering. Keep pastures relatively short to encourage ryegrass to tiller and prevent shading of clover and herbs. Don't let them get too long (>3500 kg DM/ha), or make silage in the first year.

First winter & summer

Graze new pastures carefully in periods of stress. In wet winters, protect them from treading damage. Otherwise, future DM yield and persistence will be compromised. In dry periods, do not overgraze establishing pasture.