Hoof-friendly laneways for dairy farms

26 February 2008

Hoof-friendly laneways reduce lameness in dairy herds. CowTime’s Darold Klindworth says that covering the laneway with ‘soft’ material such as wood products can result in better cow movement from paddock to dairy as well as reduced lameness – which all adds up to easier milking!

Wood chips

Wood chips provide a soft surface for cattle to walk along. A trial at Flaxley, SA showed that cattle preferred to walk along woodchip-covered laneways rather than an uncovered surface.

Wood chips don’t get wedged into the cows’ hooves but they can cause a problem with effluent pump systems.


Sawdust is often used at the junction of tracks and yards, where drainage is not as good as it could be and a muddy spot may develop. Used this way, sawdust can help stones fall away from hooves, and reduce stone bruising when cows step on to the concrete. If using sawdust, make sure it is about 100 mm thick.

Other wood products

Some farmers use mulched bark or hardwood waste to fill boggy spots in laneways and to provide a more hoof-friendly surface. It is reported that the material drains and dries better than sawdust.

Recommendations for laneway materials are available in The CowTime Guidelines which can be downloaded for free from the CowTime website (www.cowtime.com.au).

For more information contact Darold Klindworth, ph 03-5624-2269 darold.klindworth@dpi.vic.gov.au or www.cowtime.com.au

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