Despite the best efforts of many farmers, with the high rainfall in autumn, winter and early spring periods, soils have become saturated. This has led to severe pasture damage on a large number of farms in south-west Victoria and Gippsland. Recovery will depend on a number of factors, and when planning the recovery strategies best suited to your farm.


  • Prioritising your main targets early if possible.
  • Don’t take on more than you can manage effectively.
  • Roll as soon as soils begin to dry out – have the roller ready to go
  • Control of weeds and pests essential both pre- and postgrazings of new re-sowings
  • All re-sowing requires appropriate timing.
  • All re-sowing requires good seed soil contact (good tilth.)

Medium pugging across entire paddock, and severe entryway pugging typical of wet winters


Do your own classifications; you may need four groups (light, medium, heavy, severe)

Light – May have a number of options, from rolling when soil conditions are drying, this option is generally only available during a small window of time and on flatter type land.

Medium – Rolling or smudging, may look at over-sowing if plant density has been affected.

Heavy/Severe – This may require pasture Re-sowing or a complete renovation using either a crop grown for silage,
hay or summer crop

Very Severe – Often paddocks that may have been sacrificed or severely wet during rotational grazing. Will need to be
cropped or could go back to permanent pasture if clean of annual weed or can control spring germinating weeds (eg
fat hen, wireweed, stinging nettle, deadly nightshade).


KEY POINT – Roll, smudge or harrow as soon as soil is firm enough to drive on.

The improvement can be seen by filling the pug marks, distributing moisture more evenly thus improving pasture growth, the same timing’s apply for both harrowing and smudging.

As soon as soils begin to dry out, we have a number of options if you can roll on your farm. This can often be the answer for light to medium pugging on farms that are not too steep. The main point here is soils need to be dry sufficiently to hold the tractor (duel tyres may help if possible) and the roller has the effect of levelling the soil profile.

Topping up with pasture seed can be done after these jobs take place, but if they are severely pugged the seed may not germinate due to lack of seed soil contact.


This is an subject that could be debated for ever.

You would expect not to plant any more than 10% to 15% of your farm into summer crops as it can become difficult to feed large amounts of summer crops to the cows. The only exception we would consider is Chico Chicory has the option to be a grazing crop for an eighteen month period.

One of the main points is to try and be organised to get the job done at the appropriate time and in an efficient manner. Naturally on any farm you target the most damaged areas first, generally these could be the summer cropping targets with a Top Crop forage blend.

Summer grasses such as Shirohie Millet (animal safe) or Betta Graze sorghum (excellent cold start tolerance for southern Vic) can also be considered as they are fairly inexpensive.

If there are still further severe pugged areas and direct drilling is not an option, using a power harrow and re sowing to ryegrass such as Megabite ryegrass or Vatbuster in early spring can be achieved on some farms, your local knowledge needs to be considered.

However, in many cases the area may be too large to renovate this spring so then these areas could be identified for autumn renovation levelling over the late spring and summer period may be required and these areas could be used as a sacrifice area.

ChicoryBi-annual, Drought tolerance, high ME and palatability, insect pest tolerant, robustness. Late Summer & Autumn Feed. Low maintenance.50-70 daysMulti6-10 kg/ha (standalone)2-4 kg/ha (Top Crop blend)
PlantainYear round production in pasture mix. High ME & mineral content, fibrous root system, Drought & heat tolerant, persistent, grows well on low fertile soils50-70 daysMulti8-10 kg/ha (standalone)1-2 kg/ha (Top Crop Blend)
KaleA late autumn winter feed, very high dry matter, fill feed requirements when pasture low150-200 daysMulti4-7 kg/ha (standalone)
TurnipFast maturing, High yielding, high quality & utilisation. Ready to graze: 60-75 days (Marco) 70-90 days (Barkant) 90-110 days (MPT)60-110 day optionsSingle1-3 kg/ha (standalone)0.5 kg/ha (Top Crop blend)
Leafy TurnipFastest brassica option. Fast maturing, high quality, multi graze option, minimal ripening required42-70 daysMulti3-6 kg/ha (standalone)1-2 kg/ha (Top Crop blend)
Forage RapeDrought tolerant, good response to later summer/autumn rains. Leafy giant type (Pillar), high yielding, multi graze 2-4, strong re-growth potential, good disease resistance70-110 days (Pillar) 60-90 days (Titan)Multi3-6 kg/ha (Standalone) 1-3 kg/ha(Top Crop blend)
MilletBulk growth, low cost, fast growing, no prussic acid, excellent water efficiency, high yielding45-60 daysMulti20-30 kg/ha (standalone)10-20 kg/ha (Top Crop blend)
Sorghum & Sudan GrassStrong early yield. Quality & drought tolerance slightly better than Millet. Fast establishment, drought tolerance, water efficiency, suited to grazing, hay and round bale silage45-60 daysMulti15-30 kg/ha (standalone)


  • Rolling after harrowing generally optimises germination.
  • If harrowed after sowing and rain is predicted, rolling may not be required.
  • Rolling is beneficial in most soil types to increase seed soil contact.
  • Rolling may not help if soils are prone to glazing (generally associated with clay soils), or in some soil types where the seed bed has become very powdery.


Spring crops have different planting times, but most crops benefit from planting followed by harrowing and rolling.
The table below shows a general time frame for planting and grazing.