Fence Post Insertion

Use a step-in fence post as an ultra-DIY penetrometer. Step the post in with your full body weight, as if inserting for a fencing layout. Barring stones or other impermeable materials you should get an impression of the ease of insertion. The easier it is, the better the soil structure. Test is equivalent to ‘Spading Ease’.

What to record

  • A number from 1-5 where:
    • 1. Very Hard – ‘OMG’ – might take more than full body-weight to fully insert
    • 2. Hard
    • 3. Moderate
    • 4. Easy
    • 5. Very easy – ‘Like butter’ – no resistance
  • Photos


  • Electric fence post, step-in fence post, pig-tail post, soil probe.

How to do the test

1. Decide whether you want to test the field more generally (under the W walk category), or repeatedly test a specific sample site over time (using the GPS feature to find the same sample location). Read more info here on how to do a W walk.

2. Try and insert fence post into the ground with reasonable force.

3. Record in the app how difficult it is on a scale of 1-5.