Grass aeration increases soil porosity, reducing run-off – Case Study

Tell us about your project: Compacted soil surfaces lack porosity which causes floods from the run-off. The lower porosity reduces flow to aquifers reducing the flow in droughts.

Where: Farm activity which prevents rainwater run-off

When: Built in 1988. The main deluge on slurry was 1990 The machine remains relevant despite its age

Design and implementation:

Benefits and constraints: Grass aeration is easy to do, requires low/medium power. My experience showed a respectable increase in grass production. A pollution episode was probably avoided by aerating in the middle of a rainstorm in an effort to stop fresh spread slurry being washed into a stream. The plan was to plough and reseed, but the job had to be postponed for two weeks – the ground was so wet. The following grass crop was spectacular – the plants thriving in the wetter, nutrified soil. Farmers across the country could try it. It would be particularly useful in upland watersheds which always appear to be badly compacted.

Further opportunities: Aerating is simple, low cost, beneficial for all soils. The effect on grassland, which forms the bulk of many UK watersheds, is considerable. It’s not sold to farmers. The fert rep told me I was wasting my time, and became quite exercised. No wonder, when I found I could reduce the amount I spent on his product. But there are many questions.

Costs: My aerator cost £250 in bits and a part-week in the workshop. Today you might need £1000. Is that a lot to get a grass increase of 20 -30% ? Not in my book.

Who?: Mike Donovan, who then started

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