How does the ‘ABCD’ scale work in assessing land condition?

Grazing land condition can be split into four broad categories based on an evaluation of: coverage of perennial (3P) species, soil condition, woodland condition and weed infestation. Ground cover is an important indicator of what might happen to future soil condition and therefore future perennial grass recovery, woodland condition trends and weed issues; all of which affect short and long term animal productivity.

Land Condition A

Excellent or ‘A’ condition has the following features:

  • Good density of healthy perennial grasses dominated by those species
  • Considered to be 3P grasses for that land type; little bare ground (<30%) in most cases
  • Few weeds and no significant infestations
  • Good soil condition: no erosion, good surface condition
  • No sign, or early signs, of woodland thickening.

Land Condition B

Fair or ‘B’ condition has at least one or more of the following features, otherwise similar to A condition:

  • Some decline in the health and/or density of 3P grasses; increase in other species (less favoured grasses, weeds) and/or bare ground (>30% but <60%) in most cases
  • Some decline in soil condition; some signs of previous erosion and/or current susceptibility to erosion is a concern
  • Obvious signs of past erosion and/or susceptibility currently high
  • General thickening in density of woody plants.

Land Condition C

Poor or ‘C’ condition has one or more of the following features, otherwise similar to B condition:

  • General decline in the health and density of 3P grasses; large amounts of less favoured species and/or bare ground (< 60%) in most cases
  • Obvious signs of past erosion and/or susceptibility currently high
  • General thickening in density of woody plants.

Land Condition D

Very poor or ‘D’ condition has one or more of the following features:

  • General lack of perennial grasses or forbs with mostly bare ground
  • Severe erosion or scalding, resulting in hostile environment for plant growth
  • Thickets of woody plants cover most of the area.

Stocktake Plus (and Stocktake) uses field indicators of soil and pasture condition to assess and rate land condition. If land condition is found to be less than optimal (B to D condition), annual pasture growth and long-term carrying capacity is downgraded using equations embedded in the app.

Woodland condition is factored into the equations by applying another discount for increasing tree basal area. Land condition is a function of soil and pasture condition at a given tree density.