Pastures and forage crops

Pastures are the backbone of the Australian beef industry. Forage crops also play an important role in providing additional nutrition and finishing cattle for specific markets.

This section has information about plant species common to northern Australia, including: tips on selection, establishment and management; collecting plant samples for identification; links to tools and other resources.

Pastures and forage crops complements the information you can find under grazing land management and nutrition.

Species and species selection

Establishment and management


Establishing small seeded legumes in existing grass pastures webinar

What are the best ways to establish pasture legumes into existing grass pastures?

In this presentation, Gavin Peck (Senior Pasture Agronomist with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) and his team discuss:

  • What production gains can be expected from legumes (i.e. the value proposition).
  • How much legume is required in a pasture to optimise production.
  • Poor establishment of legumes is a major issue when sown into existing grass pastures. Poor establishment is the common reason for legumes failing in sub-tropical and tropical grass pastures.
  • Research and demonstration trials on different aspects of legume establishment that are currently being conducted across southern and central Queensland. The trial results to be presented include: (1) If legumes are established in strips, how wide do the cultivated strips need to be i.e. how far sidewards do grasses extract water into a cultivated or sprayed out strip; and (2) The trial results on the impact of seed-bed preparation (zero tillage or cultivated), fallow moisture storage, broadcasting or drilling seed and post-emergence herbicides.
  • Seed quality and more…

Download the webinar presentation slides (PDF, 13MB) or view the answers to some of the questions asked during the webinar (PDF, 35KB)75:16 minutes published 14 December 2015 by FutureBeefAu.

Sown pasture rundown: the productivity decline of improved grass pastures webinar

The depletion of sown pasture growth due to rundown has reduced beef production by over 50%, and will cost the northern Australian beef industry more than $17 billion over the next 30 years. In this presentation, Brian Johnson and Stuart Buck from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Sown Pasture Team outline the causes, the common symptoms and the management strategies to combat sown pasture rundown. Sown pasture rundown is not a new phenomenon, however recent analysis demonstrates a range of management options can have a positive economic impact on beef businesses. 53:53 minutes published 11 November 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

New reports on FORAGE for the Burdekin region webinar

FORAGE is a web-based system which generates and distributes information relating to climate and pasture condition at user-specified locations, including grazing properties in Queensland. This webinar presents information on several new FORAGE reports that have been developed specifically for the Burdekin region of Queensland under the Reef Water Quality Science Program. 37:04 minutes published 28 October 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

Pasture flood recovery webinar

In this presentation, Stuart Buck (Senior Pasture Agronomist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries), explains the key points in pasture recovery from a flood event. Stuart covers the tolerances of grasses, various management options including pasture spelling, controlling weeds, re-seeding pasture and forage crop options and concludes with his key ‘take home’ messages. 16:16 minutes published 3 March 2013 by FutureBeefAu.

Pasture legumes in Queensland – a new wave webinar

As presented at the Northern Beef Research Update Conference 2013, Kendrick Cox (Senior Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) poses the question… “Are we on the crest of a new wave of legume development in Queensland?” Kendrick discusses the ‘humble bean’, legumes in pastures, and the development, collection and evaluation of legumes. 11:34 minutes published 6 April 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

The diversity and potential within the legume Desmanthus webinar

As presented at the Northern Beef Research Update Conference 2013, Chris Gardiner (Livestock Production Systems, James Cook University) discusses the potential of one particular legume – Desmanthus. He discusses its origin, geographical spread and its beneficial properties. 9:55 minutes published 6 April 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

Where do we stand with weeds from a research perspective? – Webinar

As presented at the Northern Beef Research Update Conference 2013, Shane Campbell (Weeds and Pest Animal Operations, Biosecurity Queensland) discusses the weed issues in the rangelands and the key focus areas of effective biological control, the refinement of control options and modelling techniques to guide strategic management. Next, Tim Heard (Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO) discusses bio-control of pastoral weeds of northern Australia – a summary of recent projects. 28:47 minutes published 31 March 2014 by FutureBeefAu.