Cow track drainage

Adequate drainage is critical to prolonging the life of your cow track. Here we look at how to ensure your track deals effectively with surface run-off.

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Draining a cow track

To prevent your cow track surface from deteriorating, it is critical to ensure it’s adequately drained, which stops pools from forming. The position , camber and drainage of your track is essential for reducing run-off and for stopping your tracks from sending that run-off into a watercourse.

Find out more about your cow track position

Here’s what to keep in mind when planning the drainage for your new track:

  • For tracks under 4 m, you’ll need a crossfall of 150 mm
  • For wider tracks, you’ll need a camber of between 3 and 6%
  • Keep the camber convex to shed water along the whole track rather than in one or two areas
  • If necessary, construct cross-drains to carry run-off into existing drains on the edge of the track. Ensure this is diverted off the track and not onto other low areas in the track or into watercourses
  • Clean cross-drains regularly to ensure they continue to divert water off the track
  • Don’t allow water to run along the tracks or remain on the surface − standing puddles tend to erode and in time destroy the track surface
  • Over time, verges build up along tracks. Remove these each year to keep water moving freely off the track
  • To prolong the life of the track, consider clearing overhanging greenery and ditches, which minimises weather damage and improves sun and wind exposure, allowing the track to dry more quickly

Useful links

Find out about the advantages of cow tracks

Learn how cows behave on a cow track

Find out what to consider when planning your cow track route

Learn about materials for your cow track

Discover how to design and build a cow track

Find out more about maintaining a cow track

Find out how to calculate cow track costs

Learn how to fence a cow track

Download the Cow tracks guide

AHDB has a number of technical resources for you to use on farm and in the office. If you would like to order a hard copy of Cow tracks, please contact:

Telephone: 0247 799 0069

Alternatively, you can order online using the form below:

Dairy order form