Sprinkle the cow track with rose petals

If I could, I’d sprinkle the cow track with rose petals! The cows average a 3.6km walk to and from the dairy every day and can easily become quite tender-footed, so the surfaces they walk on are incredibly important. If you can’t walk on it barefoot, you can’t expect your cows to walk on it either.

When a tractor window got smashed on the track, the only thing for it was to sweep all the glass up. Nearly broke Old Macdonald’s back!

Sweeping the cow track

Sweeping the track as Alex enjoys a hammock ride

The track is soft gravel for maximum cow comfort while providing a relatively mud-free surface. Last year, when the wet was at its worst and the cows’ feet were extra soft, we had loads of pine mulch spread on the tracks to provide more cushioning. Mulch works really well but unfortunately traps mud and eventually breaks down into a horrible mushy gumboot-gobbling goop.

The dairy yard is concreted for durability. Because smooth concrete can get too slippery for the cows, one of our first farm improvements was to have diamond-shaped grooves cut. The grooves help to drain the concrete and make it more grippy without becoming abrasive.

Grooved yard

What a groovy place to hang out

Santa rides a grader

This is what our cow track looked like after the floods a few weeks ago:

Track after the July floods

Track after the July floods

Thanks to the arrival of the grader, this is how it looks this morning!

Repaired cow track

After the grader!

The tracks – flood affected or not – have needed attention. Zoe and I had devised a game where we sang songs as the UTV bobbed over the corrugations and let our voices quaver.

The tracks were “good enough” though and we spent our farm budget on other things. The floods changed all that and, rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars on fresh gravel, we’ve taken the more conservative route of grading first, then seeing what else needs to be done in autumn.

For now, it feels like Christmas has come early. We practically glide along the tracks and can sing “Zoe Macdonald had a farm” at the tops of our voices without the slightest wobble!