How to Clear the Water in a Newly Dug Farm Pond

Updated February 21, 2017

Muddy waters in a newly dug farm pond is not uncommon. Typically, over time and as vegetation grows around the pond's edge, the water will clear. Livestock should be fenced from the pond and given a different water source as they can cause turbid water. If muddy waters still persist after the growth of vegetation, there is a basic method for clearing water that uses no chemicals.

Calculate the surface area of the farm pond. Roughly measure the width and length of the farm pond with the tape measure when the water is at the exit spillway level. Multiply the two numbers together to find the area in square feet.

Divide that total square footage by 43,560 square feet (1 acre). The result will be the amount of acre-feet for that pond. The "foot" in acre-foot relates to the top 12 inches of the pond's surface. Most agricultural extension services use this term when relating to a ponds capacity and the amount of fish that can be added to the water.

Add two square hay bales to every acre-foot of surface area for the pond being treated. Use the pocketknife to cut the hay bale's strings. Break the bale into smaller blocks of hay.

Throw the small blocks of hay onto the surface of the pond. Spread the blocks over as much water area as possible. As the hay decays, it will help to trap the muddy particles in the water.

Wait two weeks. If the water is still not clear, repeat the hay bale addition at the same application rate. Continue until the water becomes clear.


Contact your local agricultural extension service for various chemical methods that are available. Extreme caution must be exercised when adding chemicals to farm ponds as excessive amounts may harm fish, wildlife and farm livestock.


Never exceed more than 10 hay bales per acre-foot per year of surface area, as this may deplete oxygen from the farm pond and cause a fish kill.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Two hay bales per acre-foot of pond surface
  • Pocketknife
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.