Whether you want to create a pasture or grow hay or other crops, creating a level paddock is key. While a laser level can help get your fencing straight, it can also help you create nice, even ground for growing and grazing as well.
All that being said, the real benefit of laser leveling a paddock is to improve water efficiency. While this isn’t as important if you are using it as pasture land, if you intend to grow crops, this means that you use less water and an even, slightly sloped paddock means that water isn’t going to drain away instantly, taking half your fertilizer with it. Rather, it moves slowly and is absorbed better.
How to Set a Grade in a Paddock with a Laser Level
Grading a paddock is all about creating just a slight slope to help with drainage, something that is crucial is you have a large amount of water retaining soil. Creating a grade by just eyeballing it is difficult, but a laser level can make it easier.
After positioning your laser level and tripod on dry and firm ground, you need to identify the initial height for your grade and decide the grade that you want your land to be. At the other end of the paddock place the bottom of your leveling rod at the height you want the grade of your paddock to be. Now it is all about making minor adjustments to your laser level until you hear a beep meaning that your laser detector has caught the beam.
From here, your will be able to follow the beam from the laser across the field giving you that slight grade. You are completely free to leave the laser level up, but after finding the grade, it is just a waste of battery. To save the charge, many have found it easier to just create a mound of dirt that marks the top of your desired slope. Now it is time for the hard work of taking all the soil from the high spots of your field and placing them in the low spots or redistributing the soil completely to achieve your desired grade. After you are done, it is best to bust out the laser level again, this time moving it across the paddock just to make sure the grade throughout is even and there are no spots that are higher or lower than they should be. Even just a few uneven spots can throw off a whole field.
The best time to do this is obviously in the spring or the fall. If you are having a particularly wet spring, it may be better to wait until the fall when the soil is easier to work with. By waiting until these late seasons, you can prep the soil or spread seed so that it can begin with a pretty strong start during growing seasons. However, you will need to take further preventative measures if the area was particularly weed-heavy.