Well we have had a very wet spring this year, and all this rain combined with your four legged hooved animals will have undoubtedly caused some damage to your paddocks. This damage known as pugging occurs when the soil becomes waterlogged and cannot support the weight of the animal and their hooves push in to the soil. Pugging can reduce pasture production by as much as 40%. Here are a few steps you can take to minimise the damage to your pastures this spring.
1 - Stand cattle off.
Removing your cattle from the pasture will eliminate pugging. Feeding them on a stand-off pad, sacrificial paddock or even in the race way, even for a few hours in really wet conditions will reduce pugging.
2 - Breakfeeding.
Breakfeeding can reduce pasture damage by minimising the area the cattle have to pug up.
3 - Change your grazing rotation.
The dryness of your paddocks will differ, especially if you have rolling or hilly paddocks or trees and shelter. Graze your wetter paddocks when it is dryer and save those hilly paddocks for when it is wet as the water will run off and the soil may dry quicker
4 - Keep them happy
Give your animals plenty to eat. If it is wet and cold the animals energy needs increase and if they have a full belly they are less likely to be walking around making mud.
5 - Drainage
Effective drainage can help by removing water faster from wet areas, drying them quicker therefore reducing pugging. Mole ploughing, novaflo and open drains are all effective drainage methods.
Keep Dry, Euan.
DIY advice for lifestylers, written by Kiwi Cattle Yards owner, Euan Seymour.