Nov 2001



Types & Uses

  • Grassed – use in areas where traffic can be managed to maintain vegetative cover, grass species which are wear resistant and have fast recovery from wear may be used.
  • Geotextile Fabric and Rock – use in areas where vegetation cannot be maintained (i.e., around watering facilities, feeding areas, travel lanes, stream crossing, etc.).  For dairies, use a coarse base with 2 to 3 inches of lime screening.
  • Concrete – use in high traffic areas where durability, stability, and foot problems are a concerns.
  • Foundation Preparation
    1. Remove all loose, wet, organic, or other undesirable materials to depths, widths, and lengths as required by the design. Dispose of all waste materials properly.
    2. All areas to be paved must have a 5-inch sub-base of gravel, crushed stone, or other suitable materials. The material in place may be used if adequate.
    3. Provide surface and subsurface drainage, as needed, and for disposal of runoff without causing erosion or water quality impairment.

    Extend the heavy use area a minimum of 10 feet around areas such as watering facilities, portable hay rings, feeding pads, or mineral boxes.


Test Method


Tensile Strength Grab Test ASTM D 4632 180 lb.
Mullen Bursting Test Diaphragm ASTM D 3786 320 psi
Puncture Test ASTM D 4833 80 lb.


Guidelines for Geotextile & Rock

1)     Install a geotextile fabric on firm sub-base.  Excavate vertical edges around the perimeter.  Use a geotextile with the following minimum properties.

2) Place geotexile fabric loosely over the dug out area.  Staple outside edges with joints about every 5″ with 6″ metal staples made of 8-gauge wire, or similar.  Minimum lap at all joints is 24 inches.  Cut off or fold under any excess fabric.  

3)     Place a 6 inch layer of TDOT #1 stone or similar over the geotextile.  Make sure that at least 2” of crushed rock separates fabric and equipment, or the fabric may get damaged.

4)     Place a minimum of 2 inches of TDOT #57 stone.

5)     Place an additional 2 inches of smaller stone, sawdust, sand, shale, or lime where foot problems may be a concern.  Crusher Run is not recommended for use with dairy cattle.  Other gravel options can be considered.

6)     The finished surface of the heavy use area must be flush or slightly mounded relative to the surrounding ground surface to promote proper drainage.

Guidelines for Concrete

  • Prepare forms on surface of 5-inch sub-base, or firm consolidated or compacted material. Use a minimum of 4 inches of concrete and 5 inches where heavy equipment is expected.
  • Use 6”x 6” 6/6 gage welded wire mesh reinforcing in the slab. Fiber reinforcement can be used in the concrete mix.  Use 1.5 lbs. per cubic yard of 3/4″ length virgin homopolymer polypropylene fibers, either the collated fibrillated or monofilament type.  Use isolation or expansion joints between a new slab and any other fixed object or different material, such as an existing slab, building foundation, posts or piers, etc.  Install control joints 8-10 feet apart on 4” slabs and 10-13 feet apart on 5” slabs where control of cracking is required.  The spacing should never exceed 15 feet.  Extend the control joint into the slab to a depth of one-fourth (1/4) of the slab thickness.
  • Require a design mix where the compressive strength of concrete after 28 days curing is 3500 psi. and air entrainment is 4 to 7 percent. A few days before the expected pour, contact the concrete supplier with design mix requirements and expected time and day of pour. 
  • Do not place concrete when the outside temperature is expected to fall below 40oF at the time the concrete is delivered and placed at the work site. Do not expose concrete to freezing temperatures during the curing period.
  • During hot weather, do not place concrete with temperature greater than 90oF at the time of placement.
  • Prevent concrete from drying for at least 7 days after it is placed. Protect the surface with covering materials to keep it moist such as canvas, cloth mats, straw, sand or other approved material.  In lieu of covering, maintain moisture by sprinkling, flooding, or fog spraying. Leave forms in place during curing period.

Have the appropriate official check and approve the in-place subgrade, forms, reinforcing steel, and any other items before concrete placement.

Grassed Loafing Lots 

Where disturbed resting or excercise lots are being improved for herd health and water quality purposes, establish a minimum of three grass paddocks with an optional sacrifice area (non-vegetated or bare areas) as follows:

  • Grassed loafing lots should be sized at no smaller than one acre per twenty cows except on favorable sites. Up to thirty cows may be considered, provided the site has adequate soil fertility, favorable slopes (2 to 5%), and four or more paddocks are planned.
  • Where no facilities exist to house or contain cattle during wet weather conditions, a sacrifice area can be established in addition to the 3 grassed loafing paddocks and sized at 750 square feet/animal unit. Runoff must be collected and utilized from the sacrifice area (non-vegetated or bare areas) as outlined in the Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan.
  • Avoid slopes that are less than 2% or greater than 8%.
  • After seedbed preparation, broadcast 25 lbs/ac endophyte-infected Kentucky 31 tall fescue from March 1 to April 15. From May 1 to July 1, lightly disk and broadcast 5 lbs/ac common bermuda.  Fertilizer may not be needed.  Get a soil test if unsure about what to apply.  Grassed loafing lots may need to be established at different times to allow for grass to become thoroughly established before introducing cows.
  • Develop a plan which addresses field rotation, use of sacrifice area, fencing patterns, access roads, etc.
  • Provide an alternative watering system that meets the needs of the rotational schedule and protects water quality.
  • Fence cattle from all streams and concentrated flow areas such as drainage ways and sinkholes.
  • Maintain a minimum 30-foot grass buffer between grassed loafing lots and streams unless the runoff is collected and managed by a method outlined in the Comprehensive Nutrient Management

Install fencing to control all animal traffic and separate loafing lots.  Alternative fencing procedures, which provide permanent and positive control, can be used.

Operation & Maintenance 

Runoff from the heavy use area should not directly discharge into surface water bodies.  If used to treat a concentrated livestock area (i.e., an area where livestock are confined, fed, or maintained more than a total of 45 days during any 12-month period and crops or vegetation is not sustained over the area), runoff from the area shall be properly filtered and/or collected, stored, and utilized in accordance with development of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan.

Scrape off built up manure as needed, then spread it onto farmland as fertilizer.  Keep at least 100’ from water bodies, streams, and wet weather conveyances.  Do not store manure on site unless it is protected from weather and runoff.  Take care to minimize the amount of gravel that comes off with the manure.  Replacement of rock or surfacing material will be needed occasionally.

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