Poached fields - what to do?

kit279

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31 January 2008
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In the bad weather, our fields became a total bog and the horses have poached them pretty badly, especially around the gateways and fence lines.

We have summer paddocks to use which have been rested but I was wondering what everyone is doing with their winter paddocks, to repair the poached areas. We could roll but its difficult to time it right as the ground is drying out and will be too hard in some places and too soft in others. We can harrow and reseed but it's the poached rutted areas that concern me as in places the holes are rather deep!

What is everyone else doing?
 
Joined
5 November 2012
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colchester
I don't know either. I've moved to summer paddocks and am procrastinating over winter ones. Mine are also swinging between too wet and too dry in patches. I've left the pigs on mine as their little feet quietly pack it all down so it's flat. I'm going to harrow and then oversew it once they've done it all. Not sure that's standard practice!
 

Fides

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1 August 2013
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mine are that poached that it is so soupy there are no holes... Hoping it will just dry out :(
 

TGM

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3 April 2003
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South East
I must be lucky. Wherever i've had my lot, the poached areas get flattened down quickly by their hooves once it dries out.
I think much depends on your soil. Sandy soils tend to flatten back down quite naturally, whereas heavy clay just dries into huge, deep solid ruts!
 
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21 June 2011
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Cornwall
Yes it does depend on soil type but generally rolling it well and then a good run with the harrow to break up the surface layer to let the ground 'breath' a bit will help the grass recover.I've found with experience that re-seeding isn't often needed.If it is established pasture the seed is already in the ground and just needs a bit of prep and some patience.
 

L&M

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7 March 2008
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up a hill
I harrowed my gateways a few days ago to level them out - the ground was a little soft in some places, but hard in others, but it did a good job. By harrowing it the area dried out a lot quicker so ran the roller over it a few days later. I haven't bothered with re seeding as our damage was only in the gateways which will only get re poached next winter, and it is amazing how much grass will naturally come back through anyhow.

And yes, you are meant to harrow, then roll.....something which has always confused me too as would have though rolling would negate the work you have just done with the harrow? However I also harrow throughout the summer when paddocks are rested and having rolled in the early spring, always have a nice flat field to work on.
 
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16 February 2009
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
If you can, and if your horses are OK with sheep (not all are!!), then if you can sweet-talk a local farmer and ask if they're put say a dozen sheep in your field as their little feet will tread in any ridged bits very nicely, plus they'll pick out the crummy bits of grass and generally sweeten up the pasture without any cost to yourself! Also fantastic for hoovering up wormy parasites and such (but be aware of ticks!!).

We do this with our big ten-acre field and it always works a treat; however we will have to do something to the smaller paddock as sheep never seem to want to stay in there for some reason and always go walkies!
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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Most of mine is sandy, but 1 area isn't and its still too wet to roll/harrow etc, but the rest of the fields ARE already dry enough for harrowing! But thats always the case every year, half just right, quarter a bit too dry & a quarter still too wet.

Mine are up in the summer paddocks now, giving the spring/autumn ones time to pick up better & finish drying properly, leaving me with the worst winter one to tackle.....

With the worst bit: I've been out to that small area with a good old spade, digging in the biggest ruts & stamping down what I can. Doing 20 mins after work each night and a bit at weekends over that past 2 weeks, its already looking way lots better :)
 

Polos Mum

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22 September 2012
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West Yorkshire
Harrow - to drag out any moss and spread poos
Roll - to flattern ruts
Fertilise - to get grass growing (potatoe fertiliser is a good mix for horses as it's not too N rich and cheaper than anything with horse in the title!!)
reseed - in patches (after fertiliser as new shoots don't like strong fert)

around bad gateways I do by foot, just tread the bigger ruts in while I'm getting in or walking dogs, they seem to dry out at a different rate to the rest of the field so when that's good to roll the gateways are still too wet and I'm too lazy yo hitch up rolls to do 10m2 of gateway!

Horses always do a good job of flatterning fencelines as soon as it drys
 
Joined
15 July 2002
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Braintree, Essex
I think much depends on your soil. Sandy soils tend to flatten back down quite naturally, whereas heavy clay just dries into huge, deep solid ruts!
Odd! I will try to get a before and after photo tonight, it's crazy how fast it's sorted itself out. We're in north Essex, not sure what kind of soil it is round here.
 
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