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Making and keeping fiber footing FLAT

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  • Making and keeping fiber footing FLAT

    Oh, my makes me crazy.
    During the summer, the heavy rain rolling down the 1% grade keeps my GGT footing perfect. This time if year though, there's very little rain in FL and I need to use my sprinklers to water my ring. I can't see exactly what's going on, but as soon as I switch to sprinklers to keep my footing wet my arena develops little hills and valleys. As soon as one hill and dip is created, the tractor and groomer repeat the pattern and I've got moguls!
    I drive the tractor in every pattern I can imagine, never going to same way 2 days in a row. Then, I'm hand raking down all the lumps. I use a 72 in Drag n Fly groomer on a 55 horse tractor. My ring is 70 x 200. There are 10 professionally installed sprinklers, 5 on each long side.
    Is there a better groomer or piece of tractor equipment I can buy to maintain a flatter arena? In a non fiber arena I could just use a box blade but since the GGT floats on top of a pure sand layer, I'd really make a mess of things with a box blade.

  • #2
    How about a lawn roller, given that you're just trying to level rather than fluff / redistribute the footing. You could rent one from a local rental center to just try it out before investing.


    • #3
      I am having the same problem with my TruTex footing... pretty much the same scenario.


      • Original Poster

        I think the roller would be helpful to pack the footing once it's flat but the lumps aren't moved in the slightest by the weight of my tractor tires. I don't think a roller is going to make much difference.
        TullyMars, if you figure out the secret to flat footing, let me know!


        • #5
          My footing was lumping up with my drag n fly (which is a very good drag) this summer. I called my footing guy, and he said it sounds like the footing has separated from the sand, and is sitting on top of it. This happened when it was dragged without being wet enough. I have no idea if this is what happened with you, but you can tell by digging down to your base. You can see it quite clearly if that's what has happened. I had to get a rototiller to remix the footing. He also had me turn the front teeth on the drag around, so they are pointing backwards. It might be that your sprinklers are not getting the footing wet enough. Since your problem starts when the rains stop, I would guess that could be it. Unfortunately, once the footing has separated, it needs to be remixed. Just soaking it won't take care of the problem. Hope some of this helps...


          • #6
            Fancy Pants, I think you may be on to something... we cannot water it enough out here to justify it quite frankly. I should have left the arena sand alone. The footing companies swore I would use less water! Yeah right! Going broke watering! The time involved trying to get it right has been a bit silly. I used the equipment they recommended as well as the recommended additives and it has never been right. Goforward, I think we are are screwed! Lol!😂


            • #7
              When I looked at GGT the maintenance was a huge turn off. I don't want to water my ring that often, and then groom it with a special groomer. I'm surprised the GGT people told you that you'd water less, they told me that I needed a sprinkler system it needed to stay so wet.


              • #8
                I think most sand/fiber footing needs to be kept pretty wet, unfortunately. I know mine needs a ton of water. This time of year it's no problem (and frankly the fact that it can take a ton of water is helpful since we are in monsoon season.) In August though, boy those water bills add up.
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                • #9
                  Tully Mars, they flat out lied to you! Everyone who sells it knows that all fiber footings take an enormous amount of water! Goforward, I bet that's your problem. It takes huge amounts of water to take care of GGT. I love the stuff, but that's how it is...


                  • Original Poster

                    My sprinklers go off twice over night, then I often put them on again before the after work crew comes to ride. Lack of water isn't it but uneven water could be my problem.
                    You're right, TullyMars, I do think we're screwed!


                    • #11
                      We are in Southern California and water is absolute premium. At least with the sand I could water and drag with consistency. I just can’t put what it demands for water on it. I would not have changed had I known the water requirements. It is frustrating to try and manage. Oh well. We will eventually tear it out and go back to the old school sand. I have dragged this crap to hell and back and it is still the same! 😂


                      • #12
                        I would be interested in seeing a photo of what you are talking about. Hills, valleys, and moguls might be something that I have and don't bother me. Or, yours could be different.

                        I don't have GGT, but I have a felt type 'economical' substitute. I thought I was getting GGT. I also don't have the proper kind of sand for GGT/felt, so it doesn't mix properly. My sub-angular sand can compact, so I need a harrow that can be aggressive.

                        When I first got the fiber, I bought the Drag-n-Fly. It did not work for me at all, and the seller was kind enough to take it back. I harrow with a Red Master Harrow. It has an attachment called a Paddle Wheel that breaks up clumps and rolls. It works well for me. That said, when I'm finished harrowing, I have a pattern that is mound-like between the tines. I don't see how this could be avoided unless you use a leveler. A leveler imo would only pull the fiber and made a real disaster.

                        Also, while it is true that the fiber requires moisture, I hardly ever need to water. But, mine is an indoor.


                        • Original Poster

                          We had the company who installed our footing come take the lumps out for us a few days ago. They have a large piece of equipment to redistribute/mix the fiber and sand and roll the footing flat again. They also tweaked my drag. We will see how long this lasts!


                          • #14
                            Please keep us posted. I'm deciding on my footing for an upcoming indoor and really appreciate threads like this.


                            • Original Poster

                              PaddockWood, sand and fiber in an indoor with mineral oil or other such product to cut dust is the way I would go. I've used that type of footing up north and it was wonderful. It always stayed flat with daily dragging.


                              • #16
                                Some ideas:
                                Is your drag on a three point hitch? That will exacerbate the hills issue. If you can put it on the hitch of the tractor then the drag doesn’t go up when the tires go up the hill As it does w a three point. Not sure if I’m being clear. Does that make sense? Also a drag company told me to make circles where you have humps. Like smallish ones to level the humps. I do it, and it works. I don’t have fiber footing however.

                                i bought a dragon fly w the separate hitch for this reason. I hope this helps!! Good luck I’ve learned the hard way why lots of farms have bad footing. It’s a lot of work to maintain it.


                                • #17
                                  Goforward Can you tell me more please? Did you do this in your indoor and if so where did you source it from? Thanks for your help too.


                                  • #18
                                    sand will not retain water by itself.... has any one used polymer moisture crystals to hold water ?