1 Aug 2014

How wet is too wet?

I grew up on the Central Plateau where mud was a rare occurrence – maybe after a lot of rain in a gateway that was used a lot it would get muddy – but not out in the paddocks. I still remember as a seventh former (Year 13 for younger readers) going to an Open Day at Massey University in the winter and taking a short cut across the grass. Immediately sunk to my ankles in horrible clay squelchy mud! That was my first lesson that what a soil can handle is not only about how much rain there has been, but what the soil itself is like.

This time of year is the trickiest time for managing your soil. It is generally wetter over the early spring than the winter, stock feed requirements are going up as cows start lactating so they need more pasture, and the effluent is now flowing!

The ReGen Effluent service is all about letting you if it is too wet – for your soil – to irrigate effluent, or if the soil has a small amount of capacity to take some effluent. But remember, when the soil is  wet and cold grass growth is slow so you won’t get the best value from that effluent. If you have the storage in your system, it is better to wait until the soil has warmed up and then apply it. But if you don’t have the storage, ReGen Effluent lets you know exactly what your effluent irrigation windows are.

Pugging damage has been shown to decrease pasture production by 20-80% in that season and that lower production can continue for years until the pasture is re-sown. So it is worthwhile to avoid it if at all possible. Soils are at greatest risk of pugging when they are close to field capacity (0mm Available Deficit) and you can use the daily text information from ReGen to know when your soil is close to this level and be prepared to keep stock off pasture should some heavy rain be predicted.


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