Managing wet soils

Grazing of waterlogged paddocks can result in serious ‘pugging’ damage to pastures and soils.

This damage can reduce pasture utilisation by up to 50 per cent, and reduce pasture yields by 20 - 80 per cent over the following four to eight months. Further, these conditions can increase the likelihood of animal health problems such as lameness, mastitis and magnesium deficiencies. Some low cost practical management strategies that will reduce the impact of pugging are detailed in this fact sheet.

Download the 'Managing wet soils' fact sheet

Key messages

  • Pugging damage to pastures should be minimised wherever possible
  • ‘On-off’ grazing of pastures is an effective and easy to implement strategy
  • Cows can be confined on a ‘sacrifice paddock’ for part of the day to limit the amount of damage done and protect the pasture base of the farm
  • Cows should be moved off pasture after a maximum of four hours grazing
  • Supplements can be used as a tool to ensure that cows are fully fed and to enable a slow grazing rotation to be maintained
  • Avoid the temptation to speed up the grazing rotation
  • Be aware of the increased risks of mastitis, lameness and magnesium deficiencies in the herd