cows in field

Recent ODairy Discussions, November/December, 2020

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board Co-President

Many farmers could relate to this producer’s problem of muddy and eroding conditions at the barn entrance. She asked the group if anyone had experience burying landscape fabric or permeable stall mats to stabilize the ground at these high traffic areas. Two responders suggested digging out the mud, down to firm ground, then laying down the road fabric. One of the responders, an engineer, gave more specific instructions: “Cover the fabric with about 6 inches of #2 round stones, 12" of cobbles, and another 6 inches of stone dust. Such a rugged treatment should extend from one end of the former muck to its other end. Make sure you are getting road-construction grade stone. Your town Highway Dept. can probably recommend local sources. Whatever you do, the most important thing is to clean out all the muck down to good ground before you make any improvements. Wet ground is weak compared to dry ground. The soil particles flow. If the entrances are not used during winter, the above stone depths may be halved”. One producer suggested NRCS as a resource. Others had good success in keeping cows out of the mud using wood chips, ground up asphalt or hog slats. Another producer suggested taking a look at the whole area and utilize gutters, awnings, and surface grading to keep roof runoff or surface runoff from being a factor.