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

Sown pastures: their place, their role and the things to watch

The benefits of sown pastures include, improved pasture productivity, management flexibility and land rehabilitation. However, with benefits, come disadvantages. This page explains more.

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.

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.