All weather cow tracks

Published 1 September 09

Project details
This project looked at the provision of low cost all weather cow tracks on dairy farms utilising scrap motor tyres. There were three main objectives:

  • To investigate the substitution of existing materials used to surface cow tracks with recycled rubber from tyres and other natural and processed materials. Determine the durability of two different tracks over two seasons.
  • Measure the effect on cow welfare and production performance of walking on different surfaces, from any differences in the prevalence of lameness, mode of locomotion and in foot condition.
  • Calculate the cost benefit relationships for the different tracks. 

The study confirmed earlier work that the type of track that cows walk on does have an influence on lameness, but it also has an effect on the speed at which cows choose to walk down it. Even severely lame cows tended to walk more rapidly on certain types of track demonstrating that the combined locomotion score:speed index gives a better evaluation of the track surface than a lameness score alone.

Economic analysis showed that the sand and recycled rubber tyre chippings tracks were expensive to construct but that maintenance for this track type was lower and that total costs over five years including start up costs would cost less. Both track types required some maintenance but this was more for the woodchip peeling track than for the sand and recycled rubber tyre chippings track.

Completion Date
November 2007

Lead Contractor
Institute of Animal Health


Related products and resources
The DairyCo publication Cow tracks gives information on the key points to remember when thinking about putting in a cow track, covering:

  • Where to site a track
  • Materials to use
  • The use of waste materials to build tracks
  • Drainage of the surface
  • Maintenance of surfaces.

This booklet sits alongside the information included in the DairyCo publication grass+ and work done as part of the DairyCo Healthy Feet Programme.

For further information please contact: or call 024 7647 8686