Soil Compaction is one of the biggest enemies of pasture establishment.  Young pasture is a gentle plant and if your  soil is compacted it finds it very difficult to break through the surface and  with subsoil compaction, established grass won’t persist as it can’t break through the compaction layer underneath to reach the moisture, minerals and trace elements below.  Therefore it will suffer from heat and/or cold stress a lot quicker.

Compaction is solved by ripping the sub structure of the soil.  Depending on how compacted your soil is, it may disturb the top soil a lot or a little but it does settle after the first couple of weeks.  Most times animals can be let straight back out on to the paddock if space is limited.  Ripping usually needs to be repeated every couple of years if animals are remaining on paddocks and continuing to compact the soil.

Indications that your soil may be compacted are water sitting on top of the ground after rain, water visibly running away, poor grass establishment, short grass that never grows and abundance of weeds.

Another way to see if you have severe compaction particularly on the top layers, is to try and push a shovel into the soil and take a sample piece.  If you can’t easily push the shovel into the soil with a gentle shove with your foot, most likely you have a compaction issue.  Also if it is easier on top but then you hit a harder section, you most likely have subsoil compaction.  This can particularly happen on old cultivated fields where the top 4 inches have been turned over on a regular basis but underneath it has compacted. 

Ripping to break up the soil is done at a fairly slow speed so the top soil has the least disturbance.  Have a look at our before and after, and severe and mild compaction pictures.  As you can see compaction can also differ  from one paddock to the next and also within paddocks!   So when testing your soil try a few different spots.


Do you paddocks actually have top soil?  Just because it's on top doesn't mean it's top soil!  The darker the colour the better your top soil is.  If it's a light colour, there isn't any top soil!  So ripping helps decompact the soil letting in mulch, air, water, minerals and microbes to help develop that top soil layer. 

Mulching with horse poo is a great way to use your stable collections and help your soil.  Seed can also be put on bare areas that have been mulched after a couple of weeks.



Photos coming soon!  

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