Treating Heavy Clay Soil at Chasemore Farm

Jamie Lewis, Farm Maintenance Manager at Chasemore Farm, manages the general day-to-day running of the land for owners Andrew and Jane Black who took over the 340-acre property in 2007.

Transforming the arable farm it once was into the modern stud facility it is today has had its challenges for the Chasemore Team and Jamie has recently been working to improve 100 acres of new post and rail paddocks suffering from a heavy clay soil.

Jamie wanted to use waste materials from the horses to help improve the structure and nutrient content in these paddocks. “The waste is clean and comprises of a lot of straw with some wood shavings,” he explained, “which takes a very long time to break down to enable us to use it as manure on the paddocks.”

Looking to reduce the time it takes to break down the waste matter, as well as a suitable method to spread on the paddocks, Jamie was considering a purchase of a composter and a spreader. He spoke with an arable farmer in Sussex who directed Jamie to view the muck spreader range from K Two Sales, having used a Duo himself.

Jamie went to the Grassland & Muck event to see a demo and spoke with Paul Kelloway, Sales Director, who specified a Duo Mk 5 with compost doors. The Duo was built and delivered to the farm which was then demonstrated by the K Two team. Mixing both old and new horse manure and straw with some cattle manure brought in from a local farm, the team at K Two got to work mixing the material in the Duo.

The outcome was a finer manure, with chopped straw and an even spread of muck, straw and wood shavings throughout, a product which will rapidly break down into a fine and nutritional compost. Jamie has worked through all the material on-site and plans to run it through the Duo several times before its ready for spreading on the paddocks. Using the Duo’s doors to direct the muck into tight and tidy heaps keeps the space needed to a minimum and the operation neat.

Jamie explained that the quality of the spreading is also of great importance, “The paddocks have a very tight grazing pattern with over 100 horses within peak periods, we need to get horses back onto them as soon as possible.” Jamie was impressed by the Duo’s ability to evenly and finely spread the manure onto the paddock and, because it had been well mixed previously, there were no clumps which take longer to rot into the soil structure or drown out the grass.

Additionally, using the doors to control spread on the headlands means the fencing, farm tracks and roadways remain clean while spreading right to the edge of the paddock, maximising efficiency and minimising disruptions to the rest of the maintenance team.

“It is still early days, but we are confident to be using the manure within a year of production, and we are eager to reap the benefits with the paddock’s soil structure and nutrient content,” Jamie explained, adding, “The team at K Two have been amazingly helpful with the whole process … having now been to the factory to see production and also with the assistance and machine training they offered, I would not hesitate to recommend Paul and his team to any equine facility looking to make more efficient and effective use of their waste materials.”