Farmer perceptions of reasons for perennial pasture persistence and the relationship of these with management practice, species composition, and soil fertility


  • M.J. Daly
  • T. Fraser
  • A. Perkins
  • C.M. Moffat



During 1997/98, a postal survey of 100 sheep and beef pastoral farms asked the farmers a range of questions based around pasture performance and their perceptions on persistence, and asked them to identify a persistent paddock on their farm. The farmers were then interviewed on the management of the chosen persistent paddock and the paddock was assessed for composition and fertility. The farmers ranked pasture species persistence fourth, behind pasture quality, animal health, and soil fertility in terms of importance to the whole farm system. The difference was significant between pasture quality and pasture persistence. The persistent pastures, as identified by the farmers, had high levels of desirable species and low levels of weeds and low-fertility volunteer species. The survey showed some pastures can persist and maintain high levels of desirable species for periods over 21 years. Fertility is a key factor in pasture persistence followed by drainage and grazing management. Keywords: farm management, farm survey, farmers' perceptions, interview, pasture persistence, species composition, soil fertility