Forage Seed Guide

Forage Seed Guide

For 160 years, we have been working with farmers offering hands-on advice, service and technical information to help meet production goals.

With the very latest scientific research and development, extensive trial data and knowledge available through PGG Wrightson Seeds and Agricom, we have New Zealand’s top performing cultivars available and our team can help you get the best out of them when regrassing this autumn.


PGG Wrightson has a wide portfolio of pasture options available to New Zealand farmers from key suppliers such as PGG Wrightson Seeds and Agricom. This section provides key information and advice to help you make pasture decisions this autumn.

A cultivars heading or maturity date is the time in spring when 10% of plants have emerged seed heads in a typical year.

Heading Date

Heading Dates

Cultivars with different heading dates give farmers a range of production and forage quality options during late winter, spring and early summer.

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More information on heading date

Cultivars with different heading dates give farmers a range of production and forage quality options during late winter, spring and early summer.

A standardised system adopted by the major seed companies allows farmers to compare heading dates of different cultivars. Actual heading dates vary with geographic location, weather and grazing management, however, the ranking order of cultivars will not change.

For the heading date of individual cultivars, refer to the product page for each cultivars heading date relative to Nui.
Aftermath Heading

Aftermath Heading (AMH)

AMH is the ongoing production of seed heads produced by a grass plant that occurs after the main flush of seed head production.

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Aftermath Heading

AMH is the ongoing production of seed heads produced by a grass plant that occurs after the main flush of seed head production.

Seed head reduces pasture quality (and therefore animal performance), causing grazing management headaches in spring and summer. No seed head would be ideal, however seed yield is necessary because seed producers need seed to allow farmers to sow new pastures.

Low AMH cultivars aim to optimise animal performance while yielding enough seed to establish new pastures. Low AMH cultivars deliver a short, sharp peak of seed heads, followed by a leafy, high quality sward that favours good animal performance.

Endophyte is a fungus that occurs naturally in many grass species, including ryegrass. It provides the plant with improved insect tolerance, and in return the plant provides the endophyte with a place to live and reproduce.

Spring Land Production

Endophyte Types

There are several types of endophytes available, understanding which is more suitable for your farm system will help you to maximise productivity.

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Types of endophytes

Ryegrass with AR37 endophyte provides the best insect control in ryegrass of all commercially available endophytes, with resistance against Argentine Stem Weevil, Pasture Mealy Bug, Root Aphid, Black Beetle and Porina. AR37 can cause ryegrass staggers.


Ryegrass with AR1 endophyte provides moderate insect control, but is safe for grazing stock. AR1 pastures protect against Argentine Stem Weevil and Pasture Mealy Bug. Care is needed in areas with high Black Beetle numbers (Northern North Island) as AR1 only gives moderate resistance to this pest. AR1 pastures are susceptible to Root Aphid.


MaxP® is a novel tall fescue endophyte that improves the ability of tall fescue pastures to handle pest attack and moisture stress. Unlike ryegrass endophyte, MaxP endophyte produces a loline compound. This compound along with peramine is likely to be a key factor in providing protection against Argentine Stem Weevil, Black Beetle, Pasture Mealy Bug and Root Aphid. MaxP can improve the drought tolerance of tall fescue. In areas where there are few insect pests and little moisture stress, MaxP may not be essential, but may still improve pasture production.


With the introduction of novel endophytes, this endophyte option is now outclassed. Stock grazing these pastures may suffer from ryegrass staggers and reduced animal performance during the warm part of the year. These effects may be reduced by adjusting summer/autumn grazing management.


In areas with cooler summers and good rainfall or irrigation, (Westland, Southland, parts of Otago and some irrigated land in Canterbury), cultivars without endophyte, or with low levels of standard endophyte, can be used. Such pastures are animal safe, and will give very good animal performance. However, ryegrass without endophyte provides little or no protection against common insect pests. 


Thought to provide insect protection similar to Endo5. NEA2 pastures contain low levels of Peramine and Ergovaline and very low levels of Lolitrem B.

The DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) is an independent, region specific index for short-term and perennial ryegrass cultivars. It allows farmers to make informed decisions when choosing ryegrass cultivars for their pasture renewal programme. Watch Technical Specialist, Gary Bosley explain more about the FVI below.

From choosing the right sowing method for your farm landscape, to knowing which rate to sow your chosen ryegrass at, we have tips to help below.


Sowing Methods

Choosing the right sowing method for your situation is important.
Find a suitable method

Sowing Methods

Pasture species require a fine, firm seedbed for optimum establishment. Excess trash and large clods will diminish results.

No-tillage techniques
Pasture can be successfully established through no-tillage systems. The use of a broad spectrum spray, such as glyphosate, will provide the best results. Add a broadleaf herbicide if necessary. A delay between spraying and drilling will aid moisture retention and reduce pest populations

Pastures should be sown at a depth of 10‑20mm The establishment of clovers will be adversely affected by sowing at a depth greater than these levels. Under all cultivation systems the use of harrows behind the drill will improve seed to soil contact.

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