Renovating and maintaining a cow track

We outline the tell-tale signs that may indicate problems with your track and suggest how to maintain it to ensure it continues to aid cow flow and comfort.

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Spotting problems with your track

A cow track is only as good as its performance on its worst day in the worst section. Good management of your track is key to its long-term success.

Here are the warning signs to look out for that may indicate a problem with your track:

  • High or rising lameness during the grazing period
  • High levels of sole bruising, foul in the foot, white line disease or sole damage that can be linked to stone damage during track use
  • Ridges and gullies forming on the track, which indicate water run-off and erosion
  • Bottlenecks in cow flow during herding
  • Cows raising their heads during herding
  • Cows jostling for position and therefore pushing against others in the herd
  • Excessive dunging in certain areas of the track
  • Cows tending to walk along the verges or in single file
  • Cows walking slower than 3 miles per hour on the track

If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to carry out some maintenance on your track.

Maintaining your cow track

It’s crucial to maintain your cow tracks to ensure they continue doing their job of ensuring cow flow and comfort for your herd. Here are some considerations:

  • Top or cap the surface with fine stone or a soft organic material. Mechanically crushed stone is a good replacement surface
  • Always compact the new surface with a heavy vibrating roller to remove rough edges and build the required camber into the surface
  • If your original track is made from woodchips, you’ll need to ensure it’s properly drained and has suitable fencing along the sides to prevent soil contamination
  • Identify problem areas such as gateways, and look at options such as rotating the field entrances and exits, or making openings wider

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

Learn about draining your 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