Pasture Management

Course CodeBAG212
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment




"Staff excellent, I am enjoying the learning experience." Pasture Management student


Pastures are used for grazing animals or for harvesting fodder for storage and later use as animal feed. The productivity and value of a farm is linked to the quality of its pasture. Pastures are therefore a huge part of making a farm viable and profitable.

Businesses exist that are focused strongly if not completely upon supporting farmers in their pursuit of better pastures. Consultants, seed suppliers, fertilizer companies and research workers around the world build entire careers focussed on the production of better pasture land. Farmers who can harness and apply techniques for pasture improvement will often find profitability can increase greatly across their entire operation.




Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Pastures
    • Pasture Improvement
    • Choosing a Pasture Mix
    • Seed Coating
    • Variety Selection
    • Sustainability
    • Definitions
  2. The Pasture Plant
    • Grasses
    • The grass plant
    • Growth and development
    • Phases of development
    • Annual and perennial grasses
    • Carbohydrate sinks
    • The physiology of grasses
    • The structure of grasses
    • Growth habits
    • Legumes
  3. Pasture Varieties
    • Introduction to common pasture grasses
    • Identifying grasses
    • Legumes
    • The Importance of Legumes in Pasture
    • Nitrogen Fixation in Legumes
    • The Rhizobium bacteria
    • Common legumes
    • Grasses to Grow With Clovers
  4. Site Considerations
    • Managing pastures
    • Choosing the Correct Site for a Pasture
    • Choosing the correct seed mix
    • Seed quality
  5. Establishing New Pastures
    • Preparation of the land for pasture
    • Prepared seedbed
    • Sowing
    • Germination
    • Direct drilling
    • Weed control
    • Seeders
    • Grazing new pastures
  6. Managing Existing Pastures
    • Native Grasses versus Pasture
    • Carrying Capacity of Native Grasses
    • Stocking Rate of Native Grass Areas
    • The Establishment of the Native Grasslands
    • The developing grasslands
    • How grasslands deteriorate
    • Factors promoting succession or retrogression
    • Limiting factors and terminal plant communities
    • Allogenic Factors
    • Autogenic Factors
    • Rests To Promote Rapid Growth
    • Rests to change the composition of the community
    • Rests designed to eliminate or control bush encroachment
    • Rests to accumulate grazing material
    • Rests to provide out of season fodder
    • Physiological aspects
  7. Managing Stock on Pasture
    • Factors affecting food intake by animals
    • Animal factors
    • Feed factors
    • Grazing factors
    • Grazing behaviour
    • Complementary Grazing
    • Rank Order of Dominance
    • Selective Grazing
    • Ruminant Time
    • Herd group behaviour
    • Grazing Time
    • Pasture management principles - rest, grazing period, stocking, carrying capacity
    • Equal Utilisation or the Removal of the Top Hamper, paddock size, number in herd etc
    • Grassland management principles - Split - season Systems, Continuous Light Stocking, One Herd, Four Paddock System, Intensive systems etc
    • Horse pastures
    • Food trees and shrubs
  8. Pasture Management Work Tasks
    • Fertilizer
    • Pest and weed control
    • Biological control
    • Advantages of Biological Methods
    • Disadvantages of Biological Methods
    • Irrigation
    • Fallowing
    • Cultivation
    • Pasture renovation
    • Managing pasture after drought
    • Managing pasture after fire


  • Determine criteria for selecting appropriate varieties of plants for a pasture.
  • Identify characteristics of a pasture plant which are relevant to both making an identification, and to considering its value as a pasture species.
  • Evaluate the potential of given sites for pasture development programs
  • Explain the procedures used in managing the establishment of pasture.
  • Explain the techniques used in managing pasture which is already been established
  • Assess the commercial and nutritional value of pasture species in the context of farm animal feed, and determine appropriate ways of managing stock.
  • Develop an appropriate work program for the management of a pasture by a farmer

What You Will Do

  • Prepare a catalogued resource collection of 30 items including pamphlets, brochures and contact addresses for information relevant to pasture varieties.
  • List factors that affect the choice of seed mix for a pasture.
  • Categorise 5 different pasture seed mixes according to application, detailing the components of each mix together, commenting on appropriate applications for that mix in your locality.
  • Explain the benefits of seed coating for pasture establishment.
  • Label parts of a grass plants on unlabelled diagrams
  • Distinguish between 4 different clover and medic species using illustrations
  • List 20 different pasture plant varieties suited to your locality, including:
    • grasses
    • legumes
    • other fodder plants
  • Identify 10 different species of plants growing in an established pasture in your locality, by labelling a pressed specimen of each.
  • Submit proof of seeds you identified
  • What type of pasture is inoculated, and why?
  • Give and explain one example of why a dairy cow might perform differently when grazed on different types of pasture species?
  • Compare samples of 5 different pasture seed mixes.
  • List three pasture species which would be appropriate to grow in each of the following situations:
    • Dairy cattle on fertile, moist soil in your locality.
    • Beef steers on poorer soils in your region.
    • Horses for a horse riding school in your locality.
  • List factors affecting the suitability of a site for pasture.
  • Assess climatic and edaphic data for a specific pasture site, including:
    • rainfall
    • temperature
    • topography
    • soil type
  • Compare the appropriateness of 3 different soil cultivation techniques for pasture establishment on a specified site in your locality.
  • Explain weed control methods during pasture establishment on a specified site.
  • Explain grazing practices appropriate to new pasture on a specified site.
  • Establish production targets for a specified pasture, explaining how those targets are determined.
  • Select suitable machinery for pasture management including establishment and harvest, explaining the selection.
  • Explain the steps involved in preparation of a specified area land for sowing pasture.
  • Write a plan for the establishment of new pasture on a specified site, which lists all important tasks in chronological order.
  • Explain factors causing change in the nature of established pasture.
  • Compare improved pasture with native pasture, with respect to:
    • species present
    • weeds
    • maintenance requirements
  • List characteristics of different types of pasture, including:
    • sweet
    • sour
    • mixed
  • Determine sustainable stocking rates of a specified type of animal for 3 different pastures. Specify the pastures and the animals.
  • Analyse the food value of 2 different pastures.
  • Compare the grazing behaviour of 3 different farm animals.
  • Define the concept of palatability of a specific pasture
  • Determine grazing capacity of a specified paddock.
  • Specify the crop and all other variables.
  • Evaluate the production performance of two different specified pastures over a 3 year period.
  • Identify 5 different weeds that are significant problems in pasture
  • Explain 2 methods of weed control in a specific established pasture.
  • Explain the affect of fire on a specific pasture.
  • Explain the affect of different soil management practices on pasture, including:
    • fertilising
    • pest control
    • watering
    • cultivation
    • fallowing
  • Quantify materials and supply requirements for pasture management.
  • List facilities required for the handling and storage of materials and supplies.
  • List minimum machinery required for the management of a specified site.
  • Develop management plan for pasture in a specified situation, including a program of tasks to be carried out over a 12 month period.
  • Explain industry research techniques and develop a conclusion.

Whether you are managing a farm, or simply engaged in some farm support enterprise; this course can provide a strong foundation for better understanding and application of pasture management, no matter where you live in the world.

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$461.00Payment plans available.

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