Good Grazing and Soil Health Protection When There’s Too Much Rain

It was just a few weeks back that many of us were concerned about how dry it was getting…and then suddenly some of these same places have way to much moisture. Excess water has turned the focus more on trying to maintain forage quality and a rarity for this time of year, “pugging.” Saturated soils are more susceptible to animal pugging from their hooves breaking through the soil surface. Pugging forces soil particles together reducing pore space; causing compaction. This loss in pore space reduces water holding capacity, slows drainage, and can greatly reduce needed oxygen in the soil. Lack of oxygen means less soil microbes and less nutrients being available to plants. A typical soil should contain about 50% pore space, occupied by about half water and half air by volume. Soil particles of varying degrees of sand, silt, and clay, organic matter, and living organisms make up the remaining 50%. You will not find a livestock farm without any compaction. You won’t find too many row crop farms without any compaction either, but that is a slightly different story and usually caused by different means. High traffic areas such as walkways or trails, along fences, and heavily used feeding and watering areas will almost always have compacted soils and almost can’t be avoided. Pastures can be mana

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