Forage growth trails and study sites

Forage growth trails and study sites

Data was collected from forage trials on a number of research and farm locations around the country

New Zealand’s diverse landscapes, climatic conditions and farm systems can make it difficult to decide which legume to grow where, including when to consider nitrogen-fixing properties.

These trials evaluated a number of different forage combinations with a focus on legumes as they require less chemical inputs than rye grass.


Farmers need evidence to give them confidence to utilise different forage and farm system options

Hill country farmers, farm diverse hill country landscapes across New Zealand. Selecting plants that meet several criteria from ease of establishment to achieving animal productivity goals and tackling environmental challenges is crucial.

Data collected from field trials, case studies and modelling can inform decisions about what to plant and how to manage it to create a resilient hill country farming future. 

Data on the growth profiles of a range of forages were collected from 12 research and commercial farms across New Zealand, including:

  • Three common legumes - red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), subterranean clover (T. Subterraneum L.), lucerne (Medicago sativa L.)
  • Other pasture species - plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and chicory (Chicorium intybus), Resident pastures

Data gained from these trials plus historic data sets were used to inform the development of two legume yield models and contributed to the AgYields national forage database.

Keen to know more?


A big thank you to Derrick Moot (Lincoln University) for taking the lead on this project for New Zealand’s sheep and beef farming community. Special thanks to the farmers who actively supported this work; in particular, we would like to thank C. & K. Croft (Waipara; Stockgrove), Wongan Hills Ltd. and manager M. Iremonger (Willesden Farm) and J.& A. Chapman (Inverary Station) for allowing us to monitor production differences on their properties.


Back to infographic