Most farmers can identify with myriad problems associated with mud forming around high-traffic areas, including areas around horse and cattle waterers, feed bunks, round bale feeders, walk paths, and gate entrances. Mud is usually a result of animals congregating in and around these areas, but increased traffic can enhance the problem. In many cases, finding solutions to mud problems on farms is not the issue–the issue is determining how to make solutions economical.

Concrete and heavy traffic pads are traditional remedies for reducing mud on horse and livestock farms. A nontraditional option is soil-cement, which is about one-third the cost of concrete. Soil-cement is a highly compacted mixture of soil, Type 1 Portland cement, and water. Soil-cement was originally used as a stabilizing agent for riverbanks, and it has since been used as a subgrade and subbase modifier for roadways, water retention structures, and dam construction.

Agricultural uses of soil-cement in Kentucky have been in smaller areas, such as around automatic waterers and feed bunks, horse paths, and gate entrances. In those areas, soil-cement has been beneficial in stabilizing the soil and preventing mud.

Laboratory tests show completed soil-cement mixture is suitable as a livestock heavy traffic pad solution because it will form a hardened, stiff, durable material.

Soil cement watering pad

Horses on a soil-cement pad top dressed with Class I sand.

To demonstrate its use, soil-cement was used in an area around an automatic waterer. In the past, soil around this waterer had to be replaced every three years with approximately 6 to 9 inches of soil. The success of soil-cement as a heavy traffic pad material is illustrated at left, which shows the stabil