• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Pasture Aeration

Help Support CattleToday:

Lucky

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
13
Location
TX
Does anyone on here aerate thier pastures? If so what is the best type to use? I’ve looked at the tine and the type that drag the shank though the ground and get mixed answers. The Lawson or Ranchworx seem to get good reviews but are really expensive new and hard to find used.
 

1982vett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
9,265
Reaction score
30
Location
Central Texas
I bought a renovator with Coulter’s and shanks about 14 years ago before fuel to pull it with went to $4. I’d say the type to buy largely depends on type of your soil. Is it better than the other types? I don’t know. Doesn’t do near what Mother Nature has been doing with 1 to 3 inch wide cracks running over 4 ft deep the past few years.

I’d say the best way to “renovate” a pasture is to stop over grazing it.

From the Fall of 2010 to January 2012 I fed almost a 3 year supply of hay. Rainfall total for 2011 was 15 inches. So far this year my rainfall total is just under 16 inches. Haven’t had to resort to feeding hay. Just putting that out their.
 

Texasmark

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
2
Location
N. Texas
Hay King (brand) Pasture Renovator. Bought mine at the local JD dealership. Very reasonably priced and works like a dream. Runs about 12 drawbar hp per shank. The coulters prevent large clods/clumps from forming, even in my heavy clay and the knives run 8-12" deep, depending on how you set it up.

Other nicety of the coulters is that they are sharp and in a bermuda hay patch where you have runners, they slice the runners making a new plant with each piece of runner that had a root.

On hills, running parallel to the hill they make cavities to catch the runoff that would otherwise be wasted. If you have a dry spell and then get a pretty good shower, the grass greens up right along the slits, well before the pasture as a whole greens back up.
 

JMJ Farms

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
4,811
Reaction score
16
Location
Middle Georgia
Texasmark":32qcmulk said:
Hay King (brand) Pasture Renovator. Bought mine at the local JD dealership. Very reasonably priced and works like a dream. Runs about 12 drawbar hp per shank. The coulters prevent large clods/clumps from forming, even in my heavy clay and the knives run 8-12" deep, depending on how you set it up.

Other nicety of the coulters is that they are sharp and in a bermuda hay patch where you have runners, they slice the runners making a new plant with each piece of runner that had a root.

On hills, running parallel to the hill they make cavities to catch the runoff that would otherwise be wasted. If you have a dry spell and then get a pretty good shower, the grass greens up right along the slits, well before the pasture as a whole greens back up.

Texasmark, I’ve never ran a hay king, but I’ve heard people comment that they make their pasture rough. Have you had any issues with this? I think TrueGrit has one but I haven’t asked him. Maybe he will see this and reply also.
 

Ebenezer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
2,040
Reaction score
6
Location
Piedmont of SC
UT had a study years ago that did not support aerators. The only difference in an aerator and a sheeps foot roller is that the roller has a bulb on the end of the shank. Use plant roots.
 

Turkeybird

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
0
The only advantage I see from using one is to prep the ground before no tilling winter pasture or vice versa
 

JMJ Farms

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
4,811
Reaction score
16
Location
Middle Georgia
Ebenezer":op0667c2 said:
UT had a study years ago that did not support aerators. The only difference in an aerator and a sheeps foot roller is that the roller has a bulb on the end of the shank. Use plant roots.

Hard to dispute your post Ebenezer. Because I’ve read numerous studies that say the same thing. So let me be clear. I’m asking not disputing. Why is it when you dig a trench for a water line, electrical wire, etc that the grass will be much greener and more productive for years to come?

Bonus question: I have a neighbor with an aerator that’s a big drum (holds 1000 gallons of water) with ‘teeth’ on it. Teeth penetrate the ground about 6”. He bought it to aerate pastures. One year while planting cotton the tractor was struggling bad with the strip till planters. We hooked to the aerator and pulled it in front of the planters. It was night and day. Why did this help? How does pulling a 8000 pound drum over a field loosen rather than compact?
 
OP
L

Lucky

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
13
Location
TX
JMJ Farms":1mjjqx93 said:
Ebenezer":1mjjqx93 said:
UT had a study years ago that did not support aerators. The only difference in an aerator and a sheeps foot roller is that the roller has a bulb on the end of the shank. Use plant roots.

Hard to dispute your post Ebenezer. Because I’ve read numerous studies that say the same thing. So let me be clear. I’m asking not disputing. Why is it when you dig a trench for a water line, electrical wire, etc that the grass will be much greener and more productive for years to come?

Bonus question: I have a neighbor with an aerator that’s a big drum (holds 1000 gallons of water) with ‘teeth’ on it. Teeth penetrate the ground about 6”. He bought it to aerate pastures. One year while planting cotton the tractor was struggling bad with the strip till planters. We hooked to the aerator and pulled it in front of the planters. It was night and day. Why did this help? How does pulling a 8000 pound drum over a field loosen rather than compact?

That sounds like the arrator I’ve been looking at. Supposedly it fractures the the ground and cuts the plant root so water and air can reach the plant.
 

Turkeybird

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
0
Lawson/ ranchworx is the only one that seems logical to me, pasture aerating and cotton/ corn stalk chopping
 

Ebenezer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
2,040
Reaction score
6
Location
Piedmont of SC
Why is it when you dig a trench for a water line, electrical wire, etc that the grass will be much greener and more productive for years to come?
Same as fire ant mounds after the ants are gone. A deep mixing of soils topsoil and nutrients deeper is my guess. Ants leave mixed soil and nutrients. They had a study in the NC coastal plains years ago that mixing small amounts of subsoil up into the topsoil reduced total crop production. A study in SC decades ago showed that subsoil cuts completely sealed within a year in some typical piedmont soils. Subsoiling in spodic horizons is highly beneficial for many years. A quick run thru to say that some is soil related but plows, aerators or whatever create a hardpan at the depth of their zone of penetration or at the base of the point, tip, tooth, blade or shank. Where the tip of an aerator tooth stops, a compacted layer is created.

Bonus question: I have a neighbor with an aerator that’s a big drum (holds 1000 gallons of water) with ‘teeth’ on it. Teeth penetrate the ground about 6”. He bought it to aerate pastures. One year while planting cotton the tractor was struggling bad with the strip till planters. We hooked to the aerator and pulled it in front of the planters. It was night and day. Why did this help? How does pulling a 8000 pound drum over a field loosen rather than compact?
Wow, maybe I can win a bonus prize? What's behind door #2? :lol2: Aerators do work. How do they work? They loosen the top layer and with multiple passes create an expanding hardpan at the base of the tips. In the process of aeration the air gets to the soil, the bacteria thrive on oxygen instead of the fungi that live in soil that is not aerated, the bacteria consume the organic matter, the next crop gets a benefit from the conversion of the OM. When that season is gone, the soil is more deplete of OM than it was prior to aeration. The best aerator is plant roots. This also preserves OM and does not disrupt the fungi. If your subsoil is adverse, either condition it based on local recommendations, use plants and crops that can handle it, increase the height of your stop grazing rule in rotations, use specific crops or plants to modify it, increase fertility or applications or learn to live with it as it is. A lot of this is the basis of what is modernly known as "soil health" but Hugh Hammond Bennett was writing about it (without the benefit of much scientific research in the last 85 years) in books he wrote in the 30's and the work he promoted as natural resource management and erosion control.
 

ddd75

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2015
Messages
2,433
Reaction score
0
Location
KY
radishes and turnips would be the best.
 

True Grit Farms

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
9,453
Reaction score
3
Location
Middle Georgia
JMJ Farms":20njtu8g said:
Texasmark":20njtu8g said:
Hay King (brand) Pasture Renovator. Bought mine at the local JD dealership. Very reasonably priced and works like a dream. Runs about 12 drawbar hp per shank. The coulters prevent large clods/clumps from forming, even in my heavy clay and the knives run 8-12" deep, depending on how you set it up.

Other nicety of the coulters is that they are sharp and in a bermuda hay patch where you have runners, they slice the runners making a new plant with each piece of runner that had a root.

On hills, running parallel to the hill they make cavities to catch the runoff that would otherwise be wasted. If you have a dry spell and then get a pretty good shower, the grass greens up right along the slits, well before the pasture as a whole greens back up.

Texasmark, I’ve never ran a hay king, but I’ve heard people comment that they make their pasture rough. Have you had any issues with this? I think TrueGrit has one but I haven’t asked him. Maybe he will see this and reply also.
I know a pasture renavator helps my pastures, in my hay fields I'm not sold I've seen the benefits. In our pasture management style, a renovator pretty much is mandatory. I spread fertilizer, clover and ryegrass every fall over my pastures then pull my renovator - drag combo over it. As for making your pastures rougher if you pull in a circle or square pattern yes, otherwise I feel using a drag behind the renovator actually smooths my fields a little.
 

Texasmark

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
2
Location
N. Texas
The Hay King is specifically designed to not disturb the top soil. As stated, the coulter is designed to slice the top (however many inches you set the 3 pt depth) soil and plant shoots (for Bermuda especially since they have such and I have such). In clay soils, in arid times the shank disturbed soil opens up and makes a crack which fills with water and fertilizer when applied, getting such down in the root zone.

Anything that disturbs the soil to a depth will create a "pan" of some sort. So the question is, how much pan can you tolerate/need. I had a neighbor with a 3 shank "pan breaker" and the shanks were about 3' long and made of 1x4" solid steel (rembering best I can), tapered on the bottom with a replaceable foot. Had a 105 White with duals/weights and he said it ran in A1 (his lowest gear) and took all day to go nowhere. Since most tillage implements run a few inches or so, this implement surely broke up the existing pan.

I entertained the idea of the spike toothed drum and almost bought one till I realized that when my clay gets hard it probably wouldn't penetrate and wouldn't cut Bermuda shoots like I want. I wasn't looking at a 10k# unit, the small ones readily for sale on the www. I know they make some really complex units that cost a bunch of money. For a BTO it's no big deal. I'm not a BTO.

As with any implement, you need what YOU need, not what is good for others. Good luck.
 

Texasmark

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
2
Location
N. Texas
Well it happened as planned. The renovator cut slits in the soil in contour, soil/water conservation fashion. The summer drought comes and the clay cracks open along the rows where the renovator sliced the subsoil. In the last 2 weeks we had about an inch initially and then the last couple of days had another 6". The cracks are puffy and closing up, capturing the moisture that would have otherwise run down the hill and into the creek. The winter pea patch partially sprouted and up about an inch or so, which I planted a couple of weeks ago, has zero erosion meaning that it captured the moisture to be used later next year when it gets hot and dry.
 

BRYANT

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
0
Location
Okie
I hunted a field that had the thickest and best looking Bermuda grass I ever saw and they told me, I did not see them when they did it, that they had ripped the field with a ripper behind a dozer every 4-5 foot and 4 foot deep a couple years before. It sure look like the rain soaked in rather than run of ???
 

1982vett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
9,265
Reaction score
30
Location
Central Texas
I’ll take a half inch slow all day rainover a 2 inch flash in the pan rain any time. every rain we’ve gotten this year has been mostly a slow soaking rain. Average rainfall through the end of August was short 10 inches but being slow rains helped make up for less. Those cracks in the ground do help capture runoff. Grazing was starting to get short in places by the time relief showed up in September. Still haven’t caught runoff water but the grass is green and growing. Cracks in the ground and rain are just a part. Another part to pasture health is stocking rate. Short grass with short roots isnt going to produce short of rain no matter your fertility.

Yeah , you pivot and pipe toting guys curse a good rain at the wrong time don’t you. :D
 

Texasmark

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
2
Location
N. Texas
BRYANT":6uxgdw4t said:
I hunted a field that had the thickest and best looking Bermuda grass I ever saw and they told me, I did not see them when they did it, that they had ripped the field with a ripper behind a dozer every 4-5 foot and 4 foot deep a couple years before. It sure look like the rain soaked in rather than run of ???

On a popular farm site not too long ago I read where a farmer had a "bog" that was an unusable part of one of his fields. Said he broke the plow pan and the field hasn't held water since.

Seems to me that every year you work your soil to a known producing depth. Over the years the area below that surely becomes rigid and unable to percolate. Ripping through that from time to time has to be a good thing. Only question is, how deep is deep enough.

On pulling a 4' ripper yes it would take some traction. On the Hay King renovator, it takes about 10 hp per shank but as stated it only works down to about 12". Since my implements work the top 6" or less, that seems to be plenty deep.
 

Ebenezer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
2,040
Reaction score
6
Location
Piedmont of SC
Just got back from a field day. Deeper soil disturbance is only as good as the roots that immediately occupy the cut after that and the benefits are gone. But there are some soils where an organic hardpan can be fractured for longer benefit but those soils are unique in that characteristic. UGA has found a good bit of legacy plow pan issues 2 to 4" below the surface of the soil. Mechanical aeration uses OM quickly to leave soils at a disadvantage. Allowing taller stop height on forages will increase rooting depth and take care of hard pan issues.
 

Texasmark

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
2
Location
N. Texas
Ebenezer":11nj0w9g said:
Just got back from a field day. Deeper soil disturbance is only as good as the roots that immediately occupy the cut after that and the benefits are gone. But there are some soils where an organic hardpan can be fractured for longer benefit but those soils are unique in that characteristic. UGA has found a good bit of legacy plow pan issues 2 to 4" below the surface of the soil. Mechanical aeration uses OM quickly to leave soils at a disadvantage. Allowing taller stop height on forages will increase rooting depth and take care of hard pan issues.

To each his/her own. I'm not a professionally educated agronomist, soil expert, or such, just a guy trying to learn how to farm over the past 40 years. I live on Huston Black Clay and it has its uniqueness. I report on things that occur in my daily life, no speculation, no guessing what might happen, just what actually happens to me.
 

Latest posts

Top