Pasture condition scoring

Condition scoring every paddock on the farm will help determine under -performing paddocks and identify those that may need to be renewed.


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.

Tips and tricks


Aim to undersow paddocks before bare areas are filled in with unproductive grass and broadleaf weeds. Ideally, paddocks should be hard grazed to minimise competition during the establishment phase.

Early grazing management

Graze undersown paddocks when seedlings pass the ‘pull test’. Avoid accumulating large covers as this will shade out recently sown seedlings and reduce tillering.


Using a novel endophyte is important when undersowing run out pastures, particularly in pasture with an existing pest issue such as Argentine Stem Weevil or Black Beetle.

Seed treatment

All seed that is undersown should be treated with Superstrike® to protect against pasture pests. This is cheap insurance and a small cost when considering the cost of re-drilling the paddock 6-8 weeks later.

Note - Pastures undersown with Superstrike® seed have a grazing withholding period of 21 days.