Managing ground cover in the cropping zone of southern NSW


Ground cover is any material found on or near the soil surface that protects the soil from the erosive action of wind and water (rain drop impact and overland flow).

Materials such as loose surface stones and dung can provide an effective ground cover, but plant material (herbage ground cover), either alive or dead, is the most common and most important.

The percentage ground cover is usually described as the opposite of percent bare soil surface. It is assessed when viewed from directly above the ground.

The following information is provided in this Primefact:

  • Why is ground cover important?
  • Components of herbage ground cover
  • Estimating ground cover of grazed annual pastures
  • Estimating ground cover of grazed lucerne dominant pastures
  • Estimating ground cover of cereal stubble


Primefact 957

Published: Oct 2009