Understanding pasture management and sustainability

Good pasture management makes sure that pasture is available for your livestock all year-round, and that your soil remains healthy.


Most Queensland grazing land contains a mix of native and sown pasture species.

Pasture composition varies, however 2 broad plant types are found in most pastures:

  • perennials—individual plants live for several years to decades
  • annuals and weak perennials—live for 1 or a few growing seasons.

Pastures may also contain:

  • useful plants including grasses, forbs, legumes and sometimes sedges
  • weeds that compete with pasture for nutrients.


A healthy pasture has a:

Pasture quality is affected by:


When managing your pasture for long-term productivity, consider:

  • leafiness of pasture—leafiness and the protein content of leaves determine a plant's palatability and productivity
  • legumes—provide an additional protein source for grazing animals and contribute nitrogen to the soil
  • spelling pasture—pasture needs a rest period so it can set seed and recover.

Timber and woody weeds need to be managed as they reduce productivity and compete with grasses, but provide environmental values such as habitat and landscape function.

Find out more about improving the productivity of your pasture (PDF, 300KB).