Pasture recovery from pugging damage
A dairy farmer's income is largely related to the quality and quantity of their pasture. However, with increased rains, pastures can be damaged due to pugging – damage caused to pasture by cows tearing up the paddock's soil structure. The wetter a soil becomes, the weaker its 'strength' and the less is its ability to withstand compaction and pugging. This varies with soil type.
In pugged soils, the top 4–8cm acts as a seal and prevents further rain from dispersing through the soil. These severely pugged areas, especially in the clay and clay loam soil types, may not fully recover until well into the second spring if not renovated or over sown.
The severity of pugging depends on factors such as the physical properties of soil type, rainfall soil moisture content, the number and size of cows on the damaged area, the length of time they are left there and the pasture cover.
This damage can range from light, requiring little or nil repair work, to very severe, necessitating a full re-sowing program. Pastures and animals must be restored as soon as possible to return to higher profitability.
What are the effects of pugging and wet weather?
- Reduced pasture growth by 20–80%, depending on pugging severity
- Reduced pasture utilisation by 20–40%
- Reduced ryegrass tiller density by 39–54%
- Reduced clover content
- Nutrients such as potassium, sulphur and nitrogen leached from the soil
- Increased weeds and rubbish grasses in spring and the following year
- Delayed spring growth – waterlogged soils use twice the amount of heat to warm 1°C compared to dry soils
- Delayed and reduced silage/ hay yields
- Reduced nutritive value of this fodder
- Uneven paddocks
- Stress on farming families and animals
- Major animal health problems such as mastitis, cracked teats, lameness, grass tetany and pregnancy toxaemia.
If some form of repair is not quickly carried out, the effects of medium to severe pugging can last from several months to two years.
What happens to the soil and 'micro-verse' below ground level?
- A reduction in the number and size of the soil pores resulting in much reduced soil aeration and water movement (Figure 1) compared to a well-structured soil (Figure 2). This leads to reduced pasture root activity (reduced root branching and less finer root hairs), root density, vigour and growth.
- The creation of anaerobic conditions in waterlogged soils – this results in the production of toxic gases such as hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide and the leaching of potassium, sulphur and nitrogen through the soil profile. These factors drastically affect root growth.
- The reduction in the populations of earthworms, springtails, beetles, ants, spiders, mites, centipedes and millipedes, and other soil biota such as protozoa and nematodes and a decline in favourable soil biological activity all vital for a healthy soil environment.
- Long term effects on soil organic decomposition, nutrient recycling soil structure development and resilience (i.e. the ability to recover from pugging).
- Loss of nutrients via run-off from follow up rains.
- A greater loss in pasture production than losses from compaction only.
- Greater difficulty to restore or improve soil structure.
- Soil temperatures remain at lower levels in wet soils.
Note: Farmers of steep hilly country cannot use mechanical means to rejuvenate damaged pastures so prevention of pugging (and compaction) is crucial.
To recover from severely wet weather
- Cows will need to be in good condition (condition score 4.5 to 5.25+ in a 1-8 system) at calving next autumn/spring. This may take up to 12 months to achieve if too much condition was lost and/or if there are financial difficulties.
- Pastures need to be repaired as soon as possible without taking too much of the farm out of production at once. This may mean the sowing of summer crops (early to late), Italian ryegrass sowing (won't head till next season compared to annual ryegrass) and some perennial ryegrass being sown in spring (rainfall dependent). Work may not be completed on some paddocks until next autumn by being sown to pasture or winter crop after the summer crop or the existing pastures are 'thickened up' ready for autumn/winter growth.
- Farmers need to be prepared for another wet winter by putting in place infrastructure and/or use grazing management options to protect the pasture base.
Even soils with sub-surface drainage need at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours, to drain the watertable to at least 300mm below the ground surface at the mid-point between the pipes.
Soil and pasture recovery from pugging
Determining the severity of pugging damage
You need to assess the damaged paddocks and then categorise them by pugging severity so you can plan what treatments to carry out.
How much area of the farm has been damaged by pugging?
Pugging severity depends on factors such as soil type, amount and frequency of rainfall events and pasture management over winter. Recovery will vary depending on the severity and scale of the pugging damage. Farms in extremely wet areas, or with large damaged areas, will take longer to recover, cost more and create more stress.
Think about the effect on rotation length and availability of milker quality feed in summer or autumn when paddocks have been taken out of the rotation for a summer crop or autumn renovation. Normally this is 5-10% of the farm but can be 20 to over 50% (or even higher) on farms with severe pugging damage. This has huge implications for feeding your herd over the next 15-18 months.
If large sections of the farm are affected, you will need to consider:
- when can you start the rejuvenation process?
- how will you rejuvenate the affected areas? Will it need to be totally renovated (plough, power harrow or roterra etc.) or possibly oversown to get you out of trouble till next autumn and then carrying out further renovation?
- what species in what areas will be sown now versus later sowings for those needing warmer soils?
What is the severity of pugging in individual paddocks?
If the damage in each paddock has only occurred in specific areas (Figures 3 & 4), consider repairing this area only. Separate the remainder of the paddock using temporary electric fencing. One option is to cut the non-pugged section for silage or hay whilst allowing the pugged part to recover.
Examine the density of the pasture. Many bare areas will fill in from ryegrass tillering but if bare ground is 40 to 50% then you should increase plant numbers.
PUGGOLOGY: Determining the severity of pugging
Estimating pugging severity can be difficult – it can look worse in muddy, windy and rainy conditions and sometimes better in finer, warmer and drier conditions. There is also the question of which paddocks need your attention. One paddock may be 25% affected with very deep pugging while another may be 75% affected with very shallow pugging. Which one should you focus on? Would you try to repair the 25% deeply pugged paddock?
To help determine the severity of damage to individual paddocks or areas within paddocks, a simple tool, PUGGOLOGY, has been developed (Figure 5). Using the PUGGOLOGY chart and the instructions below, you can categorise the severity of pugging damage and clarify the action needed
Puggology Chart (Area x Depth Matrix)
|Area of Paddock Pugged (%)|
|Depth of pugging|
(25% - 50%)
(50 - 75%)
|Shallow ( 0 - 2 cm)||O - VL||VL||VL||S||L|
|Medium ( 2- 5 cm)||VL||L||M||VS||VS|
|Deep ( 5 - 8 cm)||VL - L||M||VS||VS||VS|
|Very deep (> 8cm)||L - M||S||VS||VS||VS|
Legend: VL - Very Light, L - Light, M - Medium, S - Severe, VS - Very Severe
a) Assess pasture and soil damage within pugged areas
Stand at ease – place feet ~ 1 m apart. Now imagine a 1m sized-square in front of your feet. Observe the following inside this 1 metre square.
- How much bare ground to grass is present? (Figures 6 & 7)
- How much grass is just covered with light dirt (possibly dust by now)?
- How much grass has been cleaned by follow up rains?
- How much grass is covered with mud and probably won't be washed off?
- Has any long grass been pressed into the mud itself? (probably dead or dying)
b) Look at the soil itself
- Is it plastic? Do the worm test. Using your palm of one hand and fingers of the other roll about a tablespoon of soil into a worm of 4 mm diameter and 5 cm length
- (Figure 8). If it holds together the soil is probably still too moist and may smear if drilled, affecting seedling and root growth.
- Is it dry on top and wet underneath? (Unless rain/showers continue, germinating seed may have trouble, especially if the season cuts out!
- Is the soil damp but friable in the top 0 – 10 cm? A clump of soil should break in the hand at the correct soil moisture level. (ideal seedbed)
- How far have your feet sunk into the ground? (Still too wet?)
c) Use the PUGGOLOGY chart to categorise the damage within the paddock
- What area (%) of the paddock is pugged?
- How deep are the pugging marks?
- Determine if the pugging damage is Light (Figures 9a & 9b), Medium (Figures 10a & 10b) or Severe (Figures 11a & 11b)?
Some examples of PUGGOLOGY scoring
Light pugging damage
Medium pugging damage
Severe pugging damage
What are some considerations for repairing pugged pastures?
When planning to repair pugged pastures consider such factors as:
Bigger picture planning
- What will you need in the way of feed over the next few months: quality or bulk?
- When will you need this feed - now, summer, next autumn or all of the above?
- How much and what fodder or grain will be available for purchase, if needed?
- At what price will these be available? Prices are coming down but home grown feed, successfully grown, should still be cheaper, and more in your control.
- When to start (depends on soil moisture and temperature, degree of damage, effect of follow-up rains on seed germination, labour or contractor availability, etc.)
- Likelihood of late spring to summer rains or will the season 'cut out' early?
Pasture and crop species
- Cost of seed and fertiliser, contractor rates and availability, etc.
- How were the pastures performing before the pugging occurred?
- If pastures were satisfactory, then restore them to their former glory.
- If not, why not? Was it due to poor soil fertility, poor drainage, weeds, etc? The paddock problem needs to be addressed before or during its rehabilitation to warrant the expense.
- Should the remaining pasture or weeds be sprayed before direct drilling? (Depends on likely competition from the original weeds or ryegrass).
- Medium to severely pugged soils will most likely require some phosphorous (P), potassium (K) and sulphur (S) to be applied at sowing or soon after. Sowing with di- (DAP) or mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) will supply P and nitrogen (N) at seed germination. Apply N again after first grazing.
- Do not place K fertiliser next to the seed or N at greater than about 20 kg N/ha as these can damage the seed.
- Consider sowing seed treated with Gaucho and fungicides (cereals) as this seems to be beneficial to germination and early growth.
- Project 303 research has shown that increasing the sowing rate of annual ryegrass in autumn up to 30-40 kg/ha has increased the total yield of dry matter production (Figure 12). An extra 680 and 1040 kg DM/ ha was consumed (at 80% utilisation of total grown) so economics of increasing sowing rate vs costs can be calculated. This might be worth considering next autumn, even this spring, but will depend on likely follow up rains.
- Compare your soil to the PUGGOLOGY chart: Is the pugging damage light, medium or severe? Some soils recover well; others may need mechanical assistance.
- Can the paddocks get away with a 'tickle and touch' e.g. seed broadcast and harrowed, straight oversowing only more severe and costly actions such as a spray + powerharrow + seed dropped on top + roll or full cultivation + sowing?
- How much of the farm has been affected? Small areas (less than 5-10% of farm) can be handled more easily than moderate (10-30%) or very large (above 30%) areas.
- Do some or all paddocks need some levelling or not?
- How will this be done – smudger, roller, harrows?
- What effect will these have on existing pasture – minimal, need oversowing etc?
- A full cultivation (plough, deep power harrow, mould board, etc) to a reasonable depth (5-10cm) in spring will allow the soils to harden up before next winter. Doing this next autumn will result in very soft soils going into winter, delayed pasture growth and risk of damaging both soil and new pastures during late autumn/ winter if rain occurs before the initial 1 to 2 grazings.
- Whenever a soil is churned (discing, roterra, power harrow etc.) more soil moisture coming into summer will be lost compared to direct drilling; this is not an issue if the occasional summer shower occurs.
- Double pass (diamond or square) sowing is not an advantage over the traditional single pass sowing.
- Some of the latest seed drills now have a row spacing of 100mm which helps substantially with increased numbers of rows per unit area and so a reduction in weed problems, but not totally weed-free.
- 'Sunday' paddocks. That is, the soil in the paddock will be too wet on 'Saturday' and too dry on 'Monday', but is at the best possible on the Sunday – the window for rolling and drilling is often very short.
Which rejuvenation treatment is best?
Over time, the natural processes of most soil will restore its damaged structure and will often repair much of the unevenness left by pugging. However, these processes can be impaired if the weather turns hot before the marks disappear.
If rejuvenation is required, the best treatment is dependent on many factors: if the soil conditions are right for the equipment and species/ cultivars being used, good seed/ soil contact is achieved, seeding depth is 1-2 cm depth, and the follow up weather is favourable, most equipment will usually be satisfactory.
There is very little research on the effect of various pasture rejuvenation treatments for pugged pastures. However, a trial carried out at Taranaki Agricultural Research Station, New Zealand, in the early 1990s, was conducted on a heavy clay loam soil after a single pugging event when the soil was saturated and after a further 13mm rainfall (Table 1).
|Treatment||Ryegrass Density (No. plants/sq. m)||Pasture Production|
(tonne dry matter/ha)
|Drill + Harrow2||230||10.8||6.7|
|Broadcast + Roll2||304|
|Broadcast + Harrow2||313|
|1Unseeded Treatments 2Reseeded Treatments|
Rolling and harrowing alone did not increase pasture production but the three reseeding treatments did,, mainly due to the increase in ryegrass from reseeding. Of the 14.5% increase in total pasture due to reseeding, ryegrass accounted for 60% at the expense of Cocksfoot, poa species (winter grasses) and couch (contributing to the Total Pasture in Table 1) in the unseeded treatments. That is, the pugged areas are quickly filled in by unproductive grasses if not reseeded.
This experiment was repeated in 1991 where the pugging was severe but even over the paddock (Table 2). As with the reseeding in 1990, both the drilling and broadcasting gave satisfactory results with harrowing doing a better job of covering the seed than rolling. Although rolling and harrowing alone would have smoothed the paddocks to some extent, pasture recovery was actually depressed.
Note: These are only two examples on a particular soil type.
The pasture responses will vary greatly in any pugging situation depending on factors such as soil type, soil moisture, soil type, seed bed preparation, seed germination, competition from other species and follow up management.
For many severely pugged soils, existing ryegrass will be minimal in many paddocks and the bare areas will be filled by mostly summer weeds and grass species. Some form of restoration will be essential.
|Treatment||Ryegrass Production (kg DM/ha)||Ryegrass (%)|
|Summer||Autumn||Summer & Autumn|
|Broadcast + Roll2||1230||1150||60|
|Broadcast + Harrow2||1490||1330||Not Available|
|Drill + Harrow2||1720||1220||61|
|1Unseeded Treatments 2Reseeded Treatments|
What about sub-soiling?
Sub-soiling, sometimes referred to as aeration or ripping, can speed up the recovery of soil structure by lifting and cracking compacted layers in the soil. This creates a network of interconnected soil pores which allows vital air and moisture to flow more freely through the soil profile. This means deeper root growth and the build up of soil biota populations again.
Before sub-soiling, examine the soil profile to identify the presence of compaction zones. Push a penetrometer (Figure 13), a pointed steel rod with a T-piece on top for a handle into the ground and feel for a hard layer in the profile. Alternatively, dig a hole to a depth of about 50cm to find the existence of a compacted layer. Dig or push the penetrometer through the compacted layer to determine if water is able to move down the profile, once cracked.
Other possible indicators of a compacted layer are:
- the presence of plant roots or water just above or within the compacted zone
- a lack of large soil pores that may have a bluish-grey colour, indicative of long term waterlogging
- a lack of roots and earthworms.
However, to properly improve water movement through the whole profile, soil below the depth of subsoiling should be well drained, especially on flat areas with poor underlying drainage. If not, the zone of waterlogging becomes deeper and can be even more detrimental to vehicles and animal movement and may be prone to severe re-compaction.
Subsoiling should be done in the spring or autumn when soils are moist, but not too wet. Set the depth of subsoiling to just below the compacted layer. The soil should be seen to be lifting slightly as the machine is pulled through the soil. Cracks should be forming from the sub-soiler foot area in an inverted triangle to the surface.
What about aeration?
You can use machines with spikes to aerate soils to a depth of around 20-30 cm. However, research results have varied – some soil types and specific situations show a response, while others show minimal or nil responses. Use your own experience or that of local farmers to see how soils recover after a wet winter.
Even if you use subsoiling or aeration, it is crucial that you sow seed in most pastures with medium to severe damage for the pasture to make a full recovery.
Managing pasture recovery from pugging
With the high rainfall over the summer and autumn periods, soils have become saturated. This has led to severe pasture damage on a large number of farms. Recovery will depend on a number of factors.
Assessing equipment and management options according to severity of pasture damage
Do your own classifications; you may need four groups – light, medium, heavy, severe.
Light – May have a number of options, from rolling when soil conditions are drying; this option is generally only available during a small window of time and on flatter type land.
Medium – Rolling or smudging, may look at over-sowing if plant density has been affected.
Heavy/Severe – This may require pasture re-sowing or a complete renovation using either a crop grown for silage, hay or summer crop.
Very Severe – Often paddocks that may have been sacrificed or severely wet during rotational grazing. Will need to be cropped or could go back to permanent pasture if clean of annual weed or can control spring germinating weeds (e.g. fat hen, wireweed, stinging nettle, deadly nightshade).
Rolling to Repair – as soon as soils begin to dry out, we have a number of options.
Can I roll the soils of my farm? (Roll on the 2-3 days that you can so have the roller prepared.)
If yes, this can often be the answer for light to medium pugging on farms that are not too steep.
The main point here is soils need to be dry sufficiently to hold the tractor (duel tyres may help if possible) and the roller has the effect of levelling the soil profile. The improvement can be seen by filling the pug marks, which are now not getting so wet, therefore distributing moisture more evenly and improving pasture growth. The same timings apply for both harrowing and smudging. Topping up with pasture seed can be done after these jobs take place, but if they are severely pugged the seed may not germinate due to lack of seed soil contact.
Remember – Roll, smudge or harrow as soon as soil is firm enough to drive on.
Areas to target
This is open to debate. One of the main points is to try and be organized to get the job done at the appropriate time and in an efficient manner, Naturally you target the most damaged areas first generally these could be the Summer Crop targets.
You would expect not to plant any more than 10-15% of your farm into summer crops as it can become difficult to feed large amounts of summer crops to the cows. One exception is chicory as this can be a grazing crop for an 18 month period.
If there are still further Heavy/Severe or Very Severe pugged areas, direct drilling is not an option using a power harrow. Re-sowing to ryegrass in September can be achieved on some farms.
In many cases the area may be too large to renovate this spring. These areas could be identified for autumn renovation levelling over the late spring and summer period and could be used as a sacrifice area.
- Prioritising your main targets early if possible.
- Control of weeds and pests essential both pre- and post-grazings.
- Always check plant back periods from earlier chemical usage.
- All re-sowing requires appropriate timing.
- Don't take on more than you can manage effectively.
- All re-sowing requires good seed soil contact (good tilth.) Rolling to maximise establishment
- Rolling after harrowing generally optimises germination.
- If harrowed after sowing and rain is predicted, rolling may not be required.
- Rolling is beneficial in most soil types to increase seed soil contact.
- Rolling may not help if soils are prone to glazing (generally associated with clay soils), or in some soil types where the seed bed has become very powdery.
From our experience, ryegrass would generally need to be planted by the end of September, planting either Italians or Perennials. This seed needs to be covered by harrowing if the clumps are not too large, and if so, go over with power harrows twice. A follow up rolling of both techniques would be beneficial.
Note: If annual ryegrasses are sown, they will not grow through the summer period and will seed during the summer.
Spring crops have different planting times, but most crops benefit from planting followed by harrowing and rolling.
The table below shows a general time frame for planting and grazing.
|Sept - Oct||Nov||Dec||Jan||Feb||March|
|Note: All the above crops would benefit from some irrigation or effluent. Brassia planted in December in most areas would need to be irrigated.|
|Note: Pasja and Turnip can be highly reliable with irrigation applied. Turnip does not grow well under flood irrigation. Millet can be direct drilled into soils without root mat but heavy sowing rates will be required.|
Tips common to all crops
- High germination rate of seeds, 90% plus, a must
- Spring ryegrass should be sown at 30% higher rates than autumn
- Have an excellent cultivated seed bed and control weeds
- Soil clump size generally smaller than 50mm
- Address any acidity problems apply complete NPKS before planting, top up fertiliser after germination
- Good seed soil contact a must
- Monitor for pests and take action if problems occur
- Introduce stock slowly to enable rumen to adapt
|Seed or Mix||Sowing rate (kg/ha)||Sowing depth|
(cm) (must roll)
|Net energy (MJ ME/ha)|
|Pasja & Rape 3 to 5|
Turnip 1 to 2.5
|0.5 cm or broadcast harrow||91,000|
|8 to 10||0.5cm or broadcast harrow||114,000|
|Brassica herb & Millet||8 to 16||Broadcast harrow and roll||81,000|
|Sorghum||20 to 25||5cm||76,000|
Quick CRM cultivars
|80,000 to 100,000|
|Note: Yields are taken by Notman Seeds over a number of years throughout South and West Gippsland.|
Silage and Pugged Paddocks
Making silage in paddocks which have been pugged
When harvesting silage you should consider: the roughness of the ground and its effects on equipment and the operators, and reduced yields and lower quality pasture due to weeds and being usually cut later.
Another consideration is electric fence posts which can be lost in the mud. These can damage machinery and delay your crop harvest. Even plastic or fibre glass electric fence posts have a high tensile tip which is very hard to cut.
Some principles to consider when ensiling on pugged paddocks
Silage fermentation is badly affected by mud and dust
Mud and dust bring undesirable bacteria into the silage stack or bale and can cause poor fermentation (Figure 14). This will result in high losses of dry matter and nutritive value of the silage as well as low palatability. To minimise soil and dust inclusion, mow slightly higher, being very careful with tedding, raking and harvester or baler pick-up heights.
Although not a guarantee of success, the use of fermentation enhancing-type silage additives is highly recommended. Bacterial inoculants are a major group in this type of additive, but there are other products that achieve similar outcomes. Adding a desirable lactic acid-producing bacteria (fermentation enhancing inoculants) will help to compete against the spoilage bacteria in the mud, dirt and dust that will inevitably be picked up by tynes during raking, forage harvesting or baling.
Also, if poor wilting conditions (cool, overcast weather) persist, the material being ensiled may be slightly under 30% dry matter for forage harvested silage, or under 40% for baled silage. In this case, silage additives will increase the likelihood of a more favourable fermentation.
Be aware that the additive application rate is based on a fresh weight basis. That is, higher rates of additive will have to be applied than if the material was harvested at the recommended dry matter contents. You will need to accurately determine the throughput of your harvesting machinery to apply the correct rates. Avoid short changing on the amount of additive per tonne of crop.
To speed the rate of wilting, use a tedder (Figure 15) as soon as possible after mowing, and possibly again the next morning, after the dew has lifted. Try to avoid incorporating too much dirt into the forage by setting tynes to clear pug marks. A flail-type mower conditioner with swath boards left as wide as possible will also increase the wilting rate, although at a reduced rate compared to a tedder.
Try to keep to the cleaner areas of the paddock. Avoid low-lying, wet or muddy areas as these act as 'bad' inoculants, affecting much of the stack or bale.
Pasture quality is integral. The higher the pasture quality is at silage harvest, the better the animal performance when fed the silage. The regrowth of the pasture after harvest will also be better.
In spring, pasture quality will start deteriorating once pastures approach canopy closure. The growth stage at silage making could be anywhere from the two to three leaf stage of the ryegrasses where the first leaf will begin dying very quickly in spring once the fourth leaf starts to appear. If the plants are still in the vegetative stage, as later maturing ryegrass varieties may be, then the drop in nutritive value will be relatively slow.
However, if sunlight does not reach the pasture base, the generation of new tillers will be reduced and death of young tillers will occur. This will result in pastures of lower density and ultimately in lower annual pasture production.
If pastures are starting to send up reproductive tillers – the stems that contain seed heads – then canopy closure will be reached more quickly causing the above problems. More importantly, pastures at this stage decrease in nutritive value much more rapidly than those in the vegetative stage.
Are there 'less wet' paddocks that can be ensiled, using the wetter paddocks for grazing? There may be a window where the low lying paddocks can be grazed, with little pugging damage by now, on a fast rotation and then grazed quickly again. This will slow pasture regrowth and reduce pasture mass but provide some feed now and may allow them to be harvested later.
Due to a quicker grazing in these paddocks, they may have higher residuals and may need to be post-graze topped when conditions suit, if they are not ensiled. They will be of lower quality. Pre-graze topping may be another option but remember that milk production may drop somewhat as the animals won't be able to select and will consume the good, the bad and the fouled.
Silage Harvesting Recommendations for Various Levels of Pugging Damage
Severe damage (Figure 16): Paddocks will have deep (>5 cm) pug marks, some pasture may have been buried and is now rotting, and some of the grass will still have mud and manure on the leaves. Try to judge the density of the remaining pasture.
Options: You can avoid ensiling these areas, assuming soils have dried enough to allow vehicle access without leaving deep ruts. Instead, earmark these pastures for summer cropping or spring sowing with Italian or perennial ryegrass as soon as practical.
Medium damage (Figure 17): Paddocks will have medium (2–5 cm) depth pug marks, little pasture buried and most of the fouled grass will have been washed by follow-up rains. If mowing, tedding and/ or raking and harvesting can be done with minimal soil (dust or mud) inclusion, then silage should be a possibility. This depends when you can get machinery onto the paddocks without causing too much damage.
Options: If the paddock is tractable and not too rough, then ensiling is possible. Remember to minimise mowing the clump tops (dirt, poor quality plant material) and minimise dirt and dust pick up at tedding and harvesting. Consider using an additive.
Minimal damage (Figure 18): These paddocks will have shallow (< 2 cm) pug marks and should be viewed as 'business as usual'. The main concern here will be the nutritive value of the pasture/silage. The earlier it is cut, the better its value.
Options: Assuming the paddocks can be harvested without soil damage, follow the normal silage making practices.
Given that wilting and/or soil moisture conditions may affect wilting rate, consider using an additive.
This information was originally written by Frank Mickan, Ellinbank.