Spreading drilling mud

Is it safe for drilling mud to be spread on a wheat field?


Short answer is that It would depend on the type of mud that was used. There is a tremendous variety in drilling fluid composition depending on what drilling conditions it was designed for. (It is actually quite a science). I would recommend you have it analyzed before you authorize land-farming.

Another short answer; but, my thoughts from experience is not just No; but, H--- No, for your wheat fields or any other crop fields. If a detailed analysis was done and there didn't seem to be any negative contaminants IMO, it might be O.K. if spread very thin over a large area with some type of agriculture spreader so you know exactly how much is spread and where. My experience is that the oil companies are going to want to either pump or dump in a relatively small concentrated area and even though the drilling mud may not be harmful over the long haul, I would suspect that your wheat crop in the area where the mud is spread will be negatively affected. Too many variables to take a chance.

With all this said, I don't have any problem spreading the drilling mud over a relatively large area of pasture/native raw land.

You need to have proper legal documentation to ensure the application is done properly and that the oil company or other reputable party takes responsibility for any damages to your field, both short-term and long-term. Are you dealing with the oil company and know where the mud has come from - one site or multiple sites? Has it been tested so you know what it contains? Are there any applicable regulations in your state? Here is link to Texas A&M article.


The mud will be coming from the same field as the wheat is in. I am told the mud would be subjected to a chemical analysis before application could be done. Thank you for the link to the article, it is helpful.



IMHO, where the drilling mud comes from has nothing to do with the overall analysis of the mud and materials and its affects on your crop. Not that you don't already know this; but, the wheat crop is growing on/in the surface soil and this drilling mud is basically made up materials formulated for the drilling operation, plus the rock fillings from the hole in the ground. I believe the Texas A & M link that TennisDaze posted does a great job of making the case not to spread it on your crop fields.

Good Luck!

From what I've seen around Blaine Co. they usually only spread drilling fluid on pasture/grassland. I've never seen it spread on farm ground. I don't know the reason just telling what I have noticed around this area.

I would NOT recommend the spreading of drilling mud on wheat field. First of all the "mud" is not organic which is what plants need. The chemical analysis will probably vary by the day depending on what depth from whatever layer of rock or soils. Definitely agree that IF it is spread on wheat or wherever it be very controlled in the application so concentrations do not occur.

have been doing some reading on soil farming and came across this comment I made a couple of years ago. Things have changed a lot with the increased drilling in the area. I now see quite a bit more if this being done on cultivated land. My question is has anyone seen any recent studies of this in Oklahoma and direct me to where I can do some more reading. Not wanting to get in a debate but interested in peoples opinion now.

A simple logic is:

If you do it, there are risks.

If you don't do it, there are no risks.