USE THIS PASTURE CONDITION SCORE TOOL TO HELP WITH DECISIONS*
Run out paddocks scoring 1-3 will be those to target for undersowing or pasture renovation.
5. Paddock covered in dense swards of desired grasses and clovers
No action required. Would be happy if the whole farm was in this state.
4. Patches of low-level damage, some weeds, less vigorous grasses
Check soil fertility. Apply autumn nitrogen (N) to encourage tillering. Paddock probably OK for the coming season.
3. Large sections of low level damage, weeds, less vigorous grasses
Apply autumn N. Undersow in the autumn with perennial ryegrass (longer term solution) containing appropriate endophyte. Perennial ryegrass options include Platform or Excess sown at 12+ kg/ha.
2. Severe damage in parts, many weeds, patches of bare ground
- Undersow with perennial ryegrass in autumn (e.g. Platform or Excess at 12+ kg/ha), or:
- Undersow with Italian ryegrass (e.g. Lush AR37 at 15+ kg/ha) in autumn and plan to renew in following 12-18 months
1. Severe damage across entire paddock
Spray out and sow into an annual ryegrass (e.g. Winter Star II at 28-30 kg/ha) and summer crop in spring. Plan to sow in perennial pasture in the following autumn.
Once you’ve pasture condition scored the farm, you’ll be able to prioritise which paddocks require undersowing.
In late summer/early autumn while soil temperatures are still high, perennial ryegrass is a good option for undersowing. As the days shorten and soil temperatures drop below 12ºC, we should switch to Italian (e.g. Lush AR37) and annual ryegrasses (e.g. Winter Star II) as they are much faster to establish and have better cool season activity.
Early undersowing allows seedling establishment to occur in more favorable conditions, which in turn maximises establishment, tillering and early dry matter production. By comparison, later undersowing may result in missing out on favourable growing conditions and the opportunity to produce valuable winter feed, while increasing the risk of invasive grasses and weeds establishing.