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Recycled Astro turf on farm roadways

Recycled Astro turf on farm roadways

Increasingly we see dairy farmers using recycled astro-turf from all weather sports pitches or hockey pitches on their farm roadways to improve the top surface on the road, increase cow flow and reduce lameness. Dairy specialist Patrick Gowing advises on key things to be considered

Farmers who are using recycled astro turf are placing it in heavy tracked areas or on bends in roadways where it can be hard to maintain the top surface of the road. The recycled astro turf comes in 2m wide rolls. There are different grades of astro. Hockey pitces tends to be far heavier and therefore dearer all the way back to all weather soccer pitches. The astro can be a cost effective way to blind your roadway and maintain the top service for longer. It should only be considered to be a replacement for the blinding layer on a roadway and not to improve poorly designed roadways.

Some key things to be considered if using astro:

  • The principles of good farm roadway design still apply. A good base material and smooth surface is critical prior to laying the astro turf. Astro put on uneven surface can cause discomfort for the cow walking on it and also reduce the lifespan of the astro.
  • A crossfall of 1:20 is required and for the road to be higher than the field level to allow the water move sideways off the road.
  • As with derogation rules the fall in the roadway should be away from any drain and to the field regardless if astro is used or not.
  • Where machinery is also using the farm roadway the astro can be rolled out across the middle of the road so the machinery wheels will travel either side of the astro. On wider roads the astro can be placed to one side and allow the machinery pass on the other side. Ideally in this scenario the astro will be placed on the high side to make sure it stays dry.
  • Avoid using astro on excessive slopes. The mat itself can slip but also it can be become greasy in certain weather conditions and cows can struggle coming down it as it is so slippy. Generally cows will handle an incline of 12 degrees, anything beyond this and astro may not be suitable.

Find out more about building Farm Roadways here

Read about Managing farm roads to protect water quality

The Teagasc Farm Roadway Visual Assessment Booklet can be downloaded here