When is pasture too dry to detect?

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Easylife
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Usually my pasture is just too dry at this time of year to responsibly detect, but with the recent rain showers I guess it may not be quite so dry (only kidding myself really! ), but you never quite know unless you try!  :D Though I am of course really just using that as an excuse to justify an extra swing in attempt to find out, but let's face it once there there's no point in a wasted trip is there? But I only say that knowing that my farmer is mainly okay about it, he just leaves it to my own judgement  :? , though in the early days he did actually say "I'll let you know if you are making too much of a mess?". So I just took that as being given a completely free hand to do as I will within reason and it's all been good ever since! He's only mentioned the one time that he saw a few clods lifted back out by the cattle, gee it's a good job he didn't see that time when the bleeders lifted lots of them out, but fortunately I spotted them first just a couple of days later, thought oh s#*t and put them all back in place! But wow, it really did just look like moles had invaded, he would not have been too impressed with that, though I'd likely still have got away with it in all honesty with no issues, but it's all pretty cool really! :thumbsup:

But just speaking of detecting on pasture I've seen some truely shocking sights before on club digs - like a large raised up crater even filled with turf upside down! Likely a Newbie digging blind, but just not acceptable and likely to lose the club their permission. My philosophy is that if you can't make the hole good then just don't bother to dig it at all! I know that I can dig say a 14" hole in very dry pasture ground and my decent spade will still flat it back perfect. I guess that It's all just a case of being responsible and making the call based on your own experience? But top of the hill? I don't think my spade would even scratch the surface at this time, that's deffo a winter sport! 8-)
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Pete E
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Was out yesterday morning, and even following the torrential rain we' ve had over the last week the ground was still quite dry just under the turf..I think it's down to the light sand/gravel soil in this particular area...But the turf itself was good and I think that's the main thing..

I have read about people placing turfs back into pasture upside down deliberately to prevent them being lifted by cattle...I don't do that myself but try to avoid fields if there are cattle on them...still get the odd turf dug up again by foxes though, but that's mainly in the winter....
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Saffron
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I had one very productive area near an old orchard that had a large fox earth in it and when I first started detecting the area I always had to go back the next day, and normally the following day or two, in order to replace the clods that the foxes had pulled out overnight despite me having very firmly replaced them after digging. Considering that worms can form a significant part of their diet its not surprising that they take the easy option of lifting a sod we have already dug.

I openly admit that holes not being filled properly is one of my main issues with other detectorists, even worse when they leave the rubbish on the surface by the hole :shock: :-x :pulling hair out: :pulling hair out: To fill a hole properly does not take more than a few seconds and is easy, yet so many (even experienced detectorists) do not - more than one club / group have lost permissions as a result.

As for "when is it to dry" the issue is not only about the state of the ground now, but will the grass have time to fully recover and re-establish its self before we have a dry period. A sod might be cleanly cut and perfectly replaced, but the roots of the grass in that sod would still have been seperated from the surrounding earth which will reduce the amount of water that they can extract from it. I know in the past I have had a few cases where I have detected on old pasture and thought that it was OK to do so but its then become hotter and drier and some time after I have found that some of the sods I had dug had died (despite being carefully and firmly replaced). So now I am extra careful about ground conditions and weather forecasts.

Grass will also recover much quicker if you are able to do a 3 sided cut and flip the sod out leaving the 4th side as a hinge, rather than cutting all 4 sides.

I have been out a few times recently and despite it seeming to rain a lot I have been surprised how dry the ground is once you get under the surface layer, so will not be detecting on pasture until the autumn rains. FYI: nearly all my recent finds / stories have been from an old orchard with a lot of trees where I have been detecting areas with no surface grass.

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shaggybfc
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Easylife wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:39 am I know that I can dig say a 14" hole in very dry pasture ground and my decent spade will still flat it back perfect.
14 inches - that's a very big sod you're taking out there. Are you using a JCB backhoe? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Easylife
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shaggybfc wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:18 pm 14 inches - that's a very big sod you're taking out there. Are you using a JCB backhoe? :lol: :lol: :lol:
It all goes back down if you have a heavy enough spade to hammer it! :D
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Oxgirl
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My fields are semi quagmire right now we’ve had so much rain. Unusual as we’re normally dry as could be this time of year.

On pasture I work on the principle that if you can dig it, can put the clod back firmly and not kill the grass then its fine to detect it. We have lots of badgers on my permissions and the blighters dig out every clod they can - I have to go back and check fields even when its damp and they were wedged in well at the time but it’s been dry after. I can’t afford to loose a permission because a clod has been removed by badgers.

I was on a permission last week though in Shropshire (not mine) where you literally couldn’t get the spade in more than a centimetre despite two weeks of torrential rain. Pasture can be a nightmare :shock:
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Easylife
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On another pasture permission I went there once only to find many unfilled holes and first thought that somebody else had been detecting there, but on closer examination realized that it was the badgers. Hope the farmer didn't think it was me? :?
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Badgers will shred areas of pasture looking for leatherjackets and worms.
Its very obvious where they have been as they "scalp" the grass and don`t dig holes as such because the grubs etc are in the roots of the grass. :thumbsup:
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