Cocksfoot is a pasture grass important in Australia, New Zealand, and worldwide. The species is made up of several subspecies which are classified according to chromosome number, area of origin, seasonal growth pattern, and morphological characteristics. Cocksfoot does not contain animal toxins, but is variably less digestible than ryegrass. There are few serious pests and diseases, but in some situations rust and grass grub may be a problem. The older cultivars of cocksfoot originated in northern Europe and were suited to the higher‐rainfall, cooler southern parts of Australia, often where the soils had low water‐holding capacities. Since the 1950s, in both Australia and New Zealand there has been greater interest in cultivars which incorporate a higher degree of winter growth, a characteristic of the Mediterranean accessions. These new cultivars e.g., Porto and Currie, have greater drought tolerance and a growth pattern better adapted to the Australian temperate climate. Current improvement programmes and priorities for future research in the temperate Australian states and New Zealand are outlined.