Description of practice

Avoiding animal grazing on wet soils minimizes the structural damage (or pugging) that is easily caused by treading and trampling. Soil pore space is destroyed, reducing infiltration rates, increasing waterlogging, compaction and erosion and degrading the pasture quality.

Examples of how to avoid pugging of paddocks Further information
(see Note below)

AMP89 01

Sacrifice paddock

A sacrifice paddock (usually one with a run-down pasture) is selected to move cows onto during wet conditions. After the winter, summer fodder crop may be grown to level and restore the soil, and pasture is re-sown the following autumn.


»Agriculture Victoria

AMP89 02

On-off grazing

In on-off grazing, cows are allowed to graze in 1-2 short periods (2-4 hours) per day and are then moved off the pasture to a stand-off area. Grass of good length and density is needed to reduce susceptibility to pugging.


»Agriculture Victoria

AMP89 03

Selecting pasture with tall grasses

When soils are wet, pastures with tall fescue and other sod-forming perennials are grazed. Tall grasses have a flotation effect and greater root mass that help limit soil damage and expedite regrowth. Cows need to walk less far to obtain enough grazing, reducing pugging.



AMP89 04

Slow pasture rotation

A slow pasture rotation is used. If the rotation is too fast, pasture cannot reach optimum growing height, more supplementary feed is needed in winter and livestock will return to the wet paddock sooner, causing greater damage.


»Hay & Forage grower

AMP89 05

Block grazing with temporary fencing

Grazing in square or rectangular areas is used instead of elongated strips to help avoid cows walking up and down the fence line. Shifting fences and back fencing are additional strategies to avoid trampling.


»Irish Farmers Journal

AMP89 06

Stand-off pad

A purpose-built, drained stand-off pad is constructed where livestock can be held for long periods when it is not suitable for them to be on pasture.


»Agriculture Victoria

AMP89 07


A feedpad is used for regular supplementary feeding and loafing of cattle on an area of land that is either formed with a solid foundation and/or concreted to establish a permanent facility.


»Agriculture Victoria

AMP89 08

Visual soil assessment of pugging to support management

Visual soil assessment, monitoring of soil moisture and weather forecasts are used to decide on grazing management.


»Colorado State University

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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