Kath Ryan, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Kununurra.   Email: kath.ryan@dpird.wa.gov.au


Pasture condition is an important factor affecting animal production and is a useful indicator for the sustainability of production. A new resource for land managers has been added to the DPIRD website.

Land managers can use these guides to assess pasture condition of the most important pasture types in the Western Australian southern rangelands. A pasture type is a distinctive mix of plant species, occurring on a particular soil type and landscape position. The southern rangelands include the Gascoyne, Murchison and Goldfields-Nullarbor regional areas.

The southern rangelands pasture condition guides are based on the work of rangelands survey teams conducted over more than half a century, published in nine rangeland surveys, and spans the majority of the Western Australian shrublands. Additional data and reports from the Western Australian Rangeland Monitoring System (WARMS) at the regional and landscape scale have been used to expand, update and improve on information provided in the survey reports.

The southern rangelands pasture condition guides are relevant to about 815,000 square kilometres of the rangelands of Western Australia, over which the major land uses are: pastoral lease (60%); unallocated Crown land (24%); and conservation estate (12%). The area has been the subject of nine inventory and condition surveys, mainly undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development or its previous constituent departments. In compiling these guides, 402 of the most important land systems described in rangeland surveys and 272 habitat (or vegetation) types have been considered.

Pilbara pasture types on the northern boundary of the Carnarvon Basin – Gascoyne River Catchment area will overlap with southern rangeland pastures – also see the Pasture condition and management guide for the Pilbara if you are managing pastures in that overlap area.

The pasture guides can be used as a reference for pasture condition assessments and as a training guide for pastoral station staff and others interested in the productivity and maintenance of rangeland plants and pasture communities. By tracking pasture condition, managers can assess the influence of management and set goals for rangeland condition.


For more information see:


PA Waddell, PWE Thomas, WJ Fletcher, KG Ryan, JE Foster, JK Stretch and JS Addison (in prep.), ‘Pasture condition guides for the southern rangelands, including the Gascoyne, Murchison and Goldfields-Nullarbor’, Bulletin 4913, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, WA.