Choosing the Right Cultivar/FVI

Australian dairy farmers invest more than $100 million renovating pastures each year. Perennial ryegrass accounts for almost 80% of this. Until recently, there has been no easy way of assessing the agronomic performance or potential economic benefit of different perennial ryegrass cultivars for use in dairy production.

Forage Value Index

The Forage Value Index (FVI) rating system helps Australian dairy farmers and their advisors make more informed decisions when selecting cultivars. It provides an accurate, reliable and independent assessment of the potential economic value of perennial ryegrass cultivars in different dairy regions of south-east Australia. Selection of better performing cultivars helps to increase pasture productivity at key times of the year and ultimately, farm profitability.

Every year, the FVI is updated with new trial data to ensure the rankings are as accurate as possible and that any new commercially available cultivars are represented.

FVI pasture tables – 2020

The Forage Value Index pasture tables are available for dairy regions in south-eastern Australia where perennial ryegrass is most commonly used by Australian dairy farmers.

The FVI tables have recently been updated with the inclusion of data from several pasture trials conducted in southern Australia. More cultivars have been included and additional trials of current cultivars have extended the scope of the FVI tables. This is an ongoing process and will continue over the coming years.

The FVI is based on independently-calculated performance values for seasonal dry matter production and economic values. Performance values are determined by trial data from the Pasture Trial Network, while economic values are determined by economic analysis of case study farms in different dairying regions in south-eastern Australia.

The FVI for each cultivar is expressed using a colour coding system, with the green colour representing the best performing cultivars in each region. The FVI ranks cultivars according to their colour coding and user-nominated attributes, such as seasonal production, ploidy, heading date and endophyte. Only cultivars listed in the Pasture Seed Database and confirmed as a cultivar by the Australian Seed Federation are used in the FVI.

Farmers with a particular interest in how a cultivar performs at a specific time of the year relative to other cultivars can use the FVI seasonal performance tables for the relevant FVI season. For example, if winter pasture growth is of greater importance on a farm due to its calving pattern, then the FVI table on winter seasonal performance will be important to consider when selecting the most suitable cultivar.

Information is also presented on endophyte, ploidy and heading date.

Pasture species other than perennial ryegrass

The FVI can currently only be used to select perennial ryegrass cultivars. Dairy Australia is working on expanding the FVI to generate new FVIs for other important species relevant to Australian dairy farmers such as annual ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, and tall fescue. It is planned that farmers and advisors will have access to an FVI for these species to independently assess cultivars in the next couple of years.


The Forage Value Index has been a collaborative effort between Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria, Australian Seed Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia and DairyNZ.


  • FVI TC factsheet 2020

    (09 July 2020)
    PDF, 49.77 KB
  • FVI factsheet 2020

    (09 July 2020)
    PDF, 92.1 KB
  • FVI FAQ Jan 2020 Factsheet

    (09 July 2020)
    PDF, 82.29 KB

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