New and established pastures require dilligent pest management to ensure maximum ongoing performance. We've listed the main pasture & crop pests to watch out for.

Diagnosis of pasture damage by symptoms

Thinning, especially of clover, leading to bare patches; and low heaps of soil thrown up on surface

  • Blackheaded pasture cockchafers

Unthriftiness of pasture, sometimes with sward uprooted by birds and stock.

  • Redheaded pasture cockchafer and other root–feeding cockchafers.

Clover leaves with speckled appearance of green tissue removed from both surfaces leaving leaf skeletonising.

  • Lucerne Flea

Clover leaves showing a blotchy silvery discolouration.

  • Redlegged earth mite (esp. light soils in coastal areas)

Leaf chewing of clover and grasses; stems of grasses severed below seed head.

  • Southern armyworm

Selective loss of clovers and flatweeds, often followed by a loss of grass in autumn 

  • Wingless grasshopper (abundant mainly on light soils)

Poor germination of annual–type pastures or new pastures in autumn; loss of pasture adjacent to cracks in heavier soils.

  • Black field cricket

Diagnosis of forage damage by symptoms

Seedlings lopped or foliage chewed, dark grey caterpillars in soil adjacent to seedlings

  • Brown & common cutworms

Brassica foliage chewed; small wriggly green to brown caterpillars present.

  • Diamondback moth

Maize silks chewed; tip kernels chewed, husks with holes, green or brown to orange caterpillars present.

  • Native budworm & corn earworm

Brassica foliage chewed; large docile green caterpillars present

  • Cabbage white butterfly

Maize foliage chewed; silks chewed, caterpillar frass present

  • Common & southern armyworms

Lucerne unthrifty; roots absent or chewed; fat, white, legless, grubs in soil.

  • Whitefringed weevil grubs

Seedlings not establishing, slime trails present on soil

  • Slugs

Superstrike™ contains a combination of seed protection and enhancement additives within this seed treatment.

  • Assists maximising seedling establishment and plant development
  • Effective against a range of common insects and diseases
  • Not harmful to beneficials such as earthworms
  • Cost effective compared with ‘broadacre’ control options

Recommended for:

  • Use in all sub-surface and broadcast sowings in both cultivated and nil tillage situations


  • Poncho© Plus, a systemic insecticide for protection against RLEM, Blue Oat Mite, Cutworm and Lucerne Flea (suppression only). Please note, in some cases where high numbers of pests are present, a follow up insecticide treatment may be necessary
  • Apron fungicide effective against the ‘damping off’ diseases Pythium and Fusarium
  • Inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (rhizobia)
  • A fine lime base for localised pH correction around seedlings

Available with products from PGG Wrightsons.


Ultrastrike® is a broad spectrum ‘film coat’ that provides establishing grass and brassica seedlings with extensive protection. 

  • Assists in maximising seedling establishment and plant development
  • Effective against a range of common insects
  • Effective against a range of diseases in brassica and chicory
  • Not harmful to beneficials such as earthworms
  • Cost effective compared with ‘broadacre’ control options

Recommended for Grass, Brassica & Chicory:

  • Use in nil-tillage or over-sowing programmes because of the increased risk of insect damage in grass-to-grass environments
  • Over-sowing situations where competition from the existing pasture can be limiting
  • All autumn and spring sown brassica crops
  • *Pasja II and Appin are not Poncho Plus treated


  • Gaucho®, a systemic insecticide for protection against Red Legged Earth Mite and Blue Oat Mite.  Please note, in some cases where high numbers of mites are present, a follow up insecticide treatment may be necessary
  • Thiram fungicide effective against the ‘damping off’ diseases Pythium and Fusarium
  • Molybenum, an essential trace element for general brassica growth reducing the risk of ‘Whiptail’
Endophytes Explained

Endophytes in grass play an important role in resisting insect attack in pasture but there is a price to pay in ryegrass staggers and reduced animal performance.

Seed breeders develop “novel endophytes” that protect the grass against a greater range of insect pests, with no negative impacts on ruminant health or performance.

Grass plants may contain an internally growing fungus called endophyte. Different strains of endophyte are available in many of the grass cultivars.

Standard Endophyte

An option where price is crucial and high animal production is not a major issue. Stock grazing these pastures can often suffer from ryegrass staggers and experience reduced weight gains throughout the warmer months. The Standard strain (SE) implies that the cultivar contains a wild type endophyte which will help resist insect attack (eg Argentine stem weevil, Black Beetle), and help to prevent over-grazing but may, particularly in dry summer conditions, cause ryegrass staggers and reduce animal growth rates.

Nil Endophyte

In some areas, ryegrasss without endophyte can be used. Such pastures are animal safe and deliver excellent animal performance. However, you can expect less persistence in areas where pasture pests are present. Low endophyte (LE) implies low or nil endophyte infection levels in the seed and its use is best suited to areas of low insect predation generally associated with high summer moisture.

AR37 Enophyte

AR37 endophyte provides significant agronomic advantages over all ryegrass endophytes currently available in Australia where there is insect pressure. Improved pest resistance has resulted in improved ryegrass persistence and an overall increase in ryegrass production.

AR1 Endophyte

High animal performance novel endophyte option. Delivers excellent animal performance & provides a moderate range of insect protection. Has demonstrated poor persistence in areas with major insect pest pressure from Black Beetle and Root Aphid.

GrubOUT U2 Endophyte

The GrubOUT® U2 endophyte is a strain of Neotyphodium uncinatum. It contains a unique set of alkaloids called lolines, which insects don’t like. Use GrubOUT® U2 and enjoy the benefits of better pasture protection against insect pests, improved pasture persistence and superior livestock performance potential. For more information click here


Contains no Lolitrem B, the main cause of ryegrass staggers. Provides good control of Black Beetle, Argentine Stem Weevil, Root Aphid and Pasture Mealy Bug. Produces less ergovaline than many ryegrass cultivars containing standard endophyte. This said, it may produce lower animal performance levels over summer/autumn compared with AR1 and nil endophyte options.


Ideal for grazing stock and excellent protection against Black Beetle. Aids persistence of tall fescue. MaxP® endophyte in continental tall fescues has been used and trialed against a number of animal species with no known adverse animal health effects.






Eat forage.

There are usually two flights per year with the first occurring from late spring/early summer and the second from late summer/early autumn. It is during the nymph stage that feeding damage occurs to plants. Brassica crop plantings from November to March are usually the most vulnerable to Aphid attack.


  • Ultrastrike seed treatment
  • Aphid-tolerant varieties
  • Application of insecticide
  • Recognise flight periods and control infestations early
ArgentineStemWeevil - Notman Seeds

Argentine Stem Weevil


Larvae appear from October onwards and feed on tillers causing them to yellow and then brown and ultimately die. Poor resulting of pasture is often mistakenly attributed to other factors such as drought. Adult weevils feed all year round on leaves leaving narrow rectangular holes in the leaves usually near the tips.


  • Use of Ultrastrike brassica or Superstrike Grass seed treatment to protect seedlings
  • Removal of host ryegrass plants
  • Recognise flight periods and control infestations early
  • Application of insecticide
  • Use tolerant species (cocksfoot, tall fescue)
  • Use of grasses with standard, AR1, Endo5, AR37 or MaxP endophytes
AfricanBlackBeetle - Notman Seeds

African Black Bettle


African Black Beetle larvae feed on the roots of grasses over summer causing the pasture to become loose and open and the damage appears similar to that of Grass Grub.


  • Use of Superstrike seed treatment to protect seedlings
  • Use of grasses with standard, Endo5, AR37 or maxPendophytes
  • Insecticide application
  • Use of a Summer forage crop (e.g. Pasja II forage brassica)
  • Use of resistant species (e.g. lucerne)

Army Worm


Armyworms are nocturnal caterpillar pests of grass pastures and cereal crops. Armyworms mostly feed on leaves, but under certain circumstances will feed on the seed stem, resulting in head loss. They should be controlled if there are rapidly expanding areas with more than 60% leaf loss.


  • Insecticide application in late afternoon

Black Field Cricket


Grass plants may be completely consumed down to the crown. Seeds and seedlings are attacked also, so areas with heavy infestations may become totally devoid of vegetation.


  • Application of cricket bait for Black Field Cricket control
  • Insecticide application
  • Use of a summer forage crop (e.g. Pasja II forage brassica)

Black Headed Cockchafer


The larvae, and the damage they cause, gradually spreads out until the areas of infestation and the improved pasture species can seemingly start to "disappear" very quickly.


  • Use of Superstrike Clover seed treatment to protect seedlings
  • Newer cultivars with greater tolerance
  • Granular intesicide sown in the root zone
CloverNematodes - Notman Seeds

Clover Nematodes


Invades clover roots and cause damge at the growing tip which allows root disease to occur. Damage may result in dwarfing, discolouration, wilting and plant death.


  • Use of Superstrike Clover seed treatment to protect seedlings
  • Newer cultivars with greater tolerance
Diamondback Moth Notman Pasture Seeds

Diamondback Moth


Lay eggs in brassica plants and can cause damage to leaf and seeds. Larvae prevalent in brassica forage crops such as turnips & rape.


  • Removal of old brassica plants which may act as carry-over hosts
  • Application of insecticide

Red Headed Cockchafer


Redheaded cockchafers feed underground and remain below the surface, with the larvae feeding on organic matter in soil. Dead pasture amongst green pasture is the main indication of their presence. Severe damage where top soil is deeper than 6 inches & rainfall is 500mm plus.


  • Newer cultivars with greater tolerance
  • Deep-rooted plants such as lucerne, cocksfoot and phalaris, are less susceptible to damage.

Lucerne Flea


Lucerne Flea move up plants from ground level eating tissue from the underside of folliage, this makes a characterisitc "small window" effect on the leaves. Sever damage can stunt or kill seedlings.


  • Superstrike or Ultrastrike seed treatments to protect seedlings
  • Insecticide applications.
  • Regular pasture monitoring

Red Legged Earth Mite


Hatching of RLEM is typically after 10days of less than 20degreees and greater than 5mm rain. Feeding is by piecing plant cells and sucking out contents. Typical damage appears as silvering or whitening of the attacked foliage


  • Regular pasture monitoring
  • Use Ultrastrike or Superstrike to protect seedlings
  • Insectide application
Pasture Mealy Bug - Notman Seeds

Pasture Mealy Bug


Most damage is a direct result of feeding so that only high populations are important. infestation can be recognized from the surrounding white wax substance found in the crown of the plant.


  • Use  of grasses with standard, AR1, Endo5, AR37 or MaxPR   endophytes



Feeding takes place mainly at night, and will be shown as holes in the leaves, stems or roots. Slime is a good indication of slugs or snails.


  • Monitor slug numbers
  • Slug Bait application