Seven experiments were established across a range of environments (latitude 33°S) in central New South Wales to evaluate 52 legume cultivars and lines against currently recommended cultivars. Plots were grazed by either sheep or cattle after each harvest. Criteria for inclusion were that lines were either commercially available or in the process of being registered. Three experiments also included chicory. Sites had from 600 to 900 mm annual rainfall and were at altitudes of 440-1000 m. The 4-year program included the dry summer of 1990-91. White clover and subterranean clover were the most productive species over time. Among subterranean clovers, the subspecies subterraneum cultivars were more productive than the yanninicum or brachycalycinum subspecies. Other species such as balansa, Persian, strawberry, red and crimson clovers, lotus major and murex medic were more variable in production. These legumes often grew well in the establishment year, but failed to persist. Lucerne was in general, not as productive as white or subterranean clover. Caucasian clover and yellow serradella should be evaluated further as conclusive judgements could not be formed. Chicory was often the most productive species in the experiments, especially over the warmer 6 months of the year. It persisted under a 6-week harvest regime and during the drought year. The newer subterranean clover cultivars, Leura, Goulburn and Denmark all exceeded the production from the previously recommended cultivars, Woogenellup and Karridale, even though no major disease was evident in the later group. The lines 89820D and 89841E were sufficiently productive to warrant further evaluation and possible development as cultivars. In contrast, while Huia, Tahora, Bonadino and Tamar were often as productive as the recommended white clover cultivar Haifa, they were not consistently better. Where summer rainfall occurs and the annual rainfall exceeds 650 mm, the greater potential yield of white clover compared with subterranean clover justifies its use. However, no white clover cultivars survived the summer drought in 1990-91 as intact plants. Further work is needed to develop more drought-tolerant cultivars.