December 2000/January 2001

Don’t Be A Stick In The Mud!

We often have lots of little annoying problems on our farms, and we try to come up with inventive solutions to deal with them. Chances are, you are not the first one with that little annoying farm issue, so why re-invent the wheel! You may find a quick and easy solution, FREE, by contacting your local Cooperative Extension or Soil Conservation District. n For example — got a mud problem on your farm? Who doesn’t. This is one solution available from your local Soil Conservation District:

Mud can be a big problem wherever animals congregate, especially around gates, water troughs, barn entrances, and feeding pads. If mud in these areas is making you and your horses miserable, heavy use pads are an easy and somewhat inexpensive fix.

  • The main components of a heavy use pad — stone and landscape fabric — allow water to slowly drain away without mixing with dirt. They are simple to install if you have a front loading tractor and can do simple excavation work. If not, you might want to hire someone with the necessary equipment.
  • Don’t skimp on the size of the pad. If you’re installing one around a trough, make it at least the length of one horse on each accessible side of the trough.
  • To give your pad the best chance of working, first divert any water, such as from barn, shed and house downspouts, so it moves around, not through, the area. Downspout extenders and shallow berms are two easy ways to reroute water.

To construct a heavy use pad:

  • Excavate to a depth of 8 inches & level site.
  • Install landscape fabric. If the fabric isn’t wide enough, overlap edges by at least 12 inches.
  • Install 6 inches of #2 stone (about 2 1/2 inches wide).
  • Compact stone by driving over the pad with tractor.
  • Install 3 inches of CR6 of CR8 stone. (CR6 ranges in size from dust to 3/4 inch wide. CR8 is even smaller.)
  • Compact and level stone.
  • Inspect regularly and repair as needed.

Material Costs for 10′ x 10′ Heavy Use Area
Materials calculations:

  • 10 feet x 10 feet = 100 square feet
  • Landscape fabric = $(0.50/sq.ft).
  • #2 stone, 6 inches deep = 50 (cu.ft). @150 (lbs./cu.ft). = 7,500 lbs. = 3.75 tons
  • CR6 or CR8 stone, 3 inches deep = 25 (cu.ft). @ 150 (lbs./cu.ft). = 3,750 lbs. = 1.875 tons

Cost Estimate (prices are approximations): Fabric = $50; #2 stone = $75; CR6 stone = $ 40 Total $165

But they have a million solutions to your millions of problems — give them a call. It is free — paid for by your tax dollars.