the experiment was conducted aiming to compare the efficiency of the methods rising plate meter (rp), sward stick (ss), ruler and capacitance meter (cm), used to estimate herbage mass on pastures. the instruments were used in stargrass pasture (cynodon nlemfuensis vanderyst var. nlemfuensis) under continuous stocking, variable stocking rate, and sward heights. the design was completely randomized with two replicates and the treatments were sward heights: 5, 10, 15, and 20cm. the sward height at paddock was maintained by stocking rate adjustments using nellore heifers (bos indicus). the swards were evaluated monthly, from november 7th, 2007 to april 26th, 2008. the effectiveness of each method to quantify the herbage mass was evaluated by the regression equation. the capacitance meter did not show consistent results. the values of coefficient of determination for the evaluation of herbage mass were low and less than 0.63 with the ss, rp and the ruler. measurements of herbage mass on swards of stargrass under continuous stocking can be performed preferably with the rp, or with the ss and the ruler.