Assessing pasture condition can point the way to significant opportunities in the interaction between plants and livestock – to grow more and graze more, and build a more resilient grazing system.
At the bottom of this page is a worksheet designed to help you assess the feed on offer, ground cover and mix of species (among other factors). The following explanation is also included in the worksheet, so you can print it and carry it with you.
More on pasture condition scoring
Pasture condition scoring is a tool we use to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of any pasture. Taking the time to assess pasture condition encourages our critical observation of the pasture resource and its value. Taking note of what we see provides a measure that can inform management options provides a record for the future.
To assess pasture condition we use a subjective scale of 1 to 5, just as we might with livestock.
Score 1 represents pasture that is in low condition and weak. Pasture in this score may not be dependable or productive. It is least desirable relative to the potential of the paddock.
Score 5 represents pasture that is robust, vigorous and productive. It is the most desirable state, relative to the potential of the site.
Note: Considering the context of pasture type and position in the landscape is necessary to acknowledge that what makes a good pasture in one place may simply not be possible in another.
Assessing pasture condition should take account of a range of pasture characteristics.
Having looked critically at the pasture, you can combine the individual descriptions into an overall pasture condition score. You can use the score to:
Considering the pivotal role pasture management plays in the success of a grazing enterprise, taking an informed and critical look at the pasture resource is a very cost effective and worthy investment.
Pasture condition score sheet
Use this fact sheet to help you to assess the condition of your paddocks.