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Old 02/22/10, 08:22 PM
genebo's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: VA
Posts: 1,599
Reclaiming a mud hole in the pasture

How do you fill a mud hole?

The cattle have stomped a mud hole all around the round bale feeder. It stays wet all the time now.

I don't want to do concrete or gravel. I'd like to move the round bale feeder and reclaim the mud hole for grass.

Do you muck out the hole first, removing all manure and hay?

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Old 02/22/10, 08:47 PM
francismilker's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 2,835
I've had much experience filling up holes and I've found in my area the best way to fix it is to take out absolutely all the sludge and and fill it up with large rocks (4-6" sand rocks are plentiful in my area.) up to within about 6" of the surface and then follow that up with sand or dry dirt. Then, remove all traffic from it totally. The cattle waking on it work like a pumping action and tend to make it worse again if you don't totally let the ground stabilize before you put them back to it.

To fix a small mudhole you may end up with a crater large enough for a coffin before you gtet to stable ground if it's as wet as your place as it is at our's.

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Old 02/22/10, 08:48 PM
springvalley's Avatar
Family Jersey Dairy
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,773
Something I have done in spots, use wood chips. I get a few loads when the guys come around trimming the limbs for the power company. They dump them at the landfill otherwise, so I send my wife to bat her eyelashs at them and they say where do you want those wood chips lady. They work pretty good and they are organic and will rot away in time. Thanks marc.
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Old 02/22/10, 10:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: MO
Posts: 3,519
If you are moving the round bale feeder, I think I would just give the mud time to get almost dry, then work the surface a bit and replant your pasture mix. All that hay and manure will probly make it one of the greener spots in the pasture. At least that is what we always found...
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Old 02/22/10, 10:19 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
When I fed hay I experienced the same mud/muck mess. One of my main attempts to overcome the problem was to purchase a feed trailer that could be moved to different locations frequently. This was an expensive mistake. I just had the problem in more locations. The solution that worked best was buying a $450 3 point hitch device that would allow transporting round bales and then permitted the bales to be unrolled. I could go to anyplace in the pasture and unroll hay. This allowed me to use a different feed site each day. The cattle could be used to fertilize infertile areas without my having to move the manure and I could sow seeds where I needed more grass and then feed over the area and let the cattle walk the seed into the soil. The best benefit was that with the hay unrolled into a long windrow and the most timid cows could eat as readily as the worst boss cow. A round bale feeder can deny a timid cow from eating if aggressive other animals share the feeder.
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Old 02/24/10, 02:32 PM
Bovine and Range Nerd
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 911
If you have a HUGE mud-hole or slough-area like we have in one of our corrals, wouldn't it be more feasible to just sow grass seed, especially grasses that do well in wet areas instead of going to all that effort of dumping in truckloads of rocks or woodchips? I'm curious because I'm planning on rejuvinating that part of the corral into a natural swamp/grassland from a giant, ++3000 square foot slough.
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Old 02/24/10, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 321
If you have a mudhole, then it is probably because of a soil compaction problem. The ground holds water, gets saturated, and the soil bacteria dies. The saturated ground and inactive or absent soil bacteria causes the ground to 'sink' and hold even more water. The longer the ground is saturated and the more the cattle impact present, the worse the problem gets. It is the same situation that helps seal the bottom of a pond.

If you can solve the compaction problem, then you can stop the mud. If you have a huge mudhole, then you need to somehow drain the area, then work on the compaction problem (deep chiseling or subsoiling). Just draining a small portion of the area and/or penetrating parts of the compaction layer should help start fixing the problem.
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Old 02/24/10, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: VA
Posts: 1,599
I'm sure you've hit on my problem exactly.

The area where I feed is where we dug out the red clay to make the pond dam. It's way deep in clay. I started feeding there because grass wouldn't grow there. I hated to feed over good grass somewhere else.

Now that I've been feeding there for a number of years, the manure and grass seed have combined to grow good bermuda over a lot of the ground. The number of barren spots left to feed in are few, so I'm now using the same spots over and over.

I guess I will have to begin feeding over a wider area, to give the grass a chance to grow back in the borrow pit. I'll fix it best I can, but don't think I can do anything about making the soil drain. Maybe if I grade the whole area well enough I can make water run off.

It has really been a wet winter here. More feeding than normal and record amounts of rain. It all adds up.

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Old 02/24/10, 06:08 PM
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Retired farmer-rancher
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: north-central Kansas
Posts: 2,978
The only way to avoid a mudhole around a feeder in wet weather is to run a large concrete pad for the cows to stand on.
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