Pasture species

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is a world leader in the development of new pasture legumes and provides information and advice to assist farmers in making appropriate species and cultivar decisions.

The choice of pasture species is important to maximise the productivity and profitability of Western Australian farms. A wide range of grasses and legumes are available for rain-fed and irrigated production systems. Legume species in particular are valued for their high quality feeding value and ability to improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. The selection of which pasture species to grow is based on climate, soil conditions and feed demand as determined by the type of livestock and cropping system you have.

Pastures in the south-west of Western Australia are typically dominated by annual species, particularly annual ryegrass and subterranean clover, with a range of alternative legume species such as serradella and biserrula now developed for specific niches. In some situations perennial pastures (plants that live for more than two years) such as lucerne, warm season grasses and fodder shrubs can improve production, protect natural resources and build the capacity of farming systems to adapt to future production and environmental challenges.


  • Rouse is a mid to late flowering variety of the waterlogging-tolerant “white-seeded” yanninicum subspecies of sub clover.

  • Yanco is a midseason flowering variety of the waterlogging-tolerant “white-seeded” yanninicum subspecies of sub clover.

  • Six new subterranean clover varieties have been developed from a national five-year joint venture between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and pasture seed comp

  • Rosabrook is a late flowering, disease resistant subterranean clover with increased resistance to redlegged earth mites (RLEM) and high early season biomass production.

  • Narrikup is a very vigorous midseason flowering variety of the “black-seeded” subterraneum subspecies of sub clover.

  • Forbes has been developed for use in cropping rotations in areas with 350-525 mm annual average rainfall.

  • Tammin is a more persistent early flowering variety for cropping rotations in low-medium rainfall (300-450 mm annual average rainfall) areas with the novel traits of seedling resistance to redlegge

  • The establishment of sub-tropical grasses has improved dramatically in the past few years.

  • Signal grass is a warm season (C4) sub-tropical grass but it is not recommended for sowing either alone or as a component of species mixtures in Western Australia due to a high risk of causing seco

  • There is considerable interest in growing sub-tropical perennial grasses especially on the south coast and in the northern agricultural region.