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Your Cattle and their Cow Tracks Explained

 Cow tracks

Cow Tracks

Watching Your Cows’ Behaviour  - Taking a moment to consider how your farm’s cow tracks are performing could be time well spent.

Cows walk and stand with their heads down: if cows’ heads are up, either on the track or in the shed, it is because there is not enough room.

Remember, cows have a definite hierarchy. Dominant cows set the walking speed of the herd. Pressure on the rear group results mainly in the lower hierarchy cows being affected, as they will not overtake more dominant cows.

Watch how your cows are using their tracks. What speed are unforced cows walking at? Are the cows using verges instead of the tracks? Are they walking in single file? Are there any raised heads during herding? Are cows jostling for position?

Track materials

Cows walk better on softer surfaces. However the gradient of the track, weather conditions and waste disposal are factors worth bearing in mind when deciding what type of material to use. It is also worth remembering the abrasive property of concrete on hooves when cows are walking long distances. 

Track material should be free from anything of a size and shape which can be trapped between the claws – any materials that are intended to be used for cow tracks should be screened. Examples of surface materials include oolitic limestone, woodchip and stone dust.

Further information (including the DairyCo “Cow Tracks”)


Tell-tale signs of cow track problems:

  • High or rising lameness when cows are out at grass
  • Increased levels of white line disease and/or sole bruising as a result of stone damage
  • Water run-off causing puddles and streams to form in the track
  • Bottlenecks at certain points along the length of the track
  • Dual use of track for cows and machinery
  • Poor track drainage
  • Good cow flow and decreased herding time
  • Comfortable tracks for the cows to walk on
  • Minimise damage to claws
  • Reduce field poaching and compaction
  • Extend the grazing season as better field access


Installing a cow track

If you’ve checked the list and spotted any issues that happen on your farm, or need a new track, Mole Valley Farmers can supply fencing materials, suitable aggregates including oolitic limestone and hire equipment. 


Mole Valley Plus offer an extensive range of aggregates including oolitoc limestone. Oolitic limestone (which is only available in certain areas) is a specialist product which will reduce the risk of poor mobility and lameness in your cattle whilst providing an excellent surface for your tracks. 

Mole Valley Plus also have partnerships with a number of hire companies, including A Plant, Speedy and Eagle hire where you will be able to hire any extra machinery that you may need to create the perfect cow track. 

All of our branches stock a wide range of stakes and fencing products including tools and fixings plus electric fencing units either battery or solar.

For further details of products available through Mole Valley Plus, please contact our team on 01769 576201



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