DIY disc pasture meter in action


In a previous post I talked about designing a Disc Pasture Meter from readily available parts that should be present in most small towns around the world.

The design I went for involves using waste pipe fittings and a plywood or plastic disc.

Here is a schematic diagram of the build:

DPM flange design

And here is the finished article:

DPM flange build

The specific parts I used were:

The equipment I used to put it together was:

The method:

  1. Smooth the cut ends of the 2 m pipe and the 30 cm pipe to ensure that nothing gets snagged.
  2. Insert the 30 cm pipe into the flange as far as it will go, to the base of the flange. This may require some taps
  3. Thread the bolts through the four small holes in the disc and secure with the nuts to the bottom of the flange. The head of the bolt should be facing down towards the ground, with the nut on the top side of the flange.
  4. Slide the 30 cm pipe with the disc and flange over the longer section of pipe.
  5. Let the disc descend slowly and completely to rest on a patch of ground unobstructed by grass or anything else. A concrete floor is best.
  6. Mark the long pipe with the sharpie marker at the top of the 30 cm waste pipe as 0 cm.
  7. Continue in 5 cm gradations up the 2 m length of pipe. These markings can be reinforced by scratching into the pipe at a 1 cm interval, as the sharpie marker may wipe off with extended use. I also found out later that 3M branded duct tape is 5 cm width, so wrapping that around the pipe also works well as a 5 cm interval.
Marked pipe

While some of the items were bought in the UK ahead of time, these were all small items, and they’re very robust. I imagine the thing that will break first will be the disc, followed by the long pipe, and these are easy to get hold of basically anywhere. It helps that the long pipe doesn’t have to be a specific diameter, only as large as possible while still moving freely through the 30 cm sleeve pipe. Unfortunately another thing to think about is the effect of moisture on the disc. I found that over the course of a few weeks, the disc warped slightly, only a few mm, but this may affect measurements in a trivial way.

DPM in the field

The cost of all the parts was:

N.B. - Some other sources I’ve read have expressed concern over absorption of water by the plywood disc, which could alter the weight of the DPM and also warp the disc. I got around this by soaking the disc in PVA glue after drilling to make it waterproof.