[vc_row type=”container” padding_top=”” padding_bottom=”” css=”.vc_custom_1449060013623{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”” add_button=”bottom” btn_title=”Constructing a loafing or stand off area” btn_style=”custom” btn_custom_background=”#fdc900″ btn_custom_text=”#666666″ btn_shape=”square” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fagriculture.vic.gov.au%2Fagriculture%2Fdairy%2Fmanaging-wet-soils%2Ffeedpads-and-stand-off-areas||”]

Loafing (or lounging) areas are usually close to the feed pad and dairy

Loafing areas provide a place for cows to ruminate and rest following feeding. They can be used to “stand off” cows from pasture during wet conditions; reducing pasture pugging and resulting in more grass in spring. They can also help you maintain higher stocking rates.[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”container” padding_top=”” padding_bottom=”” css=”.vc_custom_1449060063467{margin-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Consider the following before you finalise your design:

  • Frequency of use – the more you plan to use this area, the softer the surface and the larger the area has to be
  • Surface type – cows like soft and dry surfaces that are not slippery – see the table below
  • Area per cow –a minimum of 3 m2 per cow is recommended so cows can lie down comfortably
  • Time on the pad – softer surfaces are best for longer periods, hard surfaces make cows reluctant to lie down
  • Design of the base – good drainage is essential
  • Effluent disposal – all effluent and run off from this area needs to be captured. Can your existing system handle it?

No matter what surface you use, consider drainage and effluent capture[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”container”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Comparison of surfaces for loafing and stand-off areas

[/vc_column_text][vc_table vc_table_theme=”simple_green”]Surface,Benefit,Factor%20to%20consider,Management%20tip|[b]Concrete,Durable%2C%20easy%20to%20clean,Cows%20prefer%20not%20to%20lie%20on%20concrete%2C%20risk%20of%20hoof%20damage%2C%20can%20be%20slippery,Could%20use%20rubber%20matting%20to%20soften%20surface|[b]Woodchips,Warm%2C%20free%20draining%2C%20cows%20lie%20down%20sooner%2C%20low%20chance%20of%20slipping%2C%20reduced%20stress%20and%20lameness,Availability%20of%20wood%20chips%2C%20may%20need%20to%20change%20frequently,Soiled%20woodchips%20can%20be%20composted%20or%20incorporated%20into%20ploughed%20soils|[b]Sand,Easy%20to%20clean%2C%20cheap%20if%20locally%20available,Cold%20when%20wet%20so%20cows%20reluctant%20to%20sit%2C%20standing%20on%20sand%20for%20prolonged%20periods%20can%20wear%20hooves,Necessary%20to%20skim%20off%20top%20layer%20twice%20per%20season|[b]Sacrifice%20paddock,No%20capital%20outlay%2C%20good%20for%20short%20periods,Loss%20of%20grazing%20area%2C%20if%20it%20gets%20too%20muddy%20cows%20won%E2%80%99t%20sit.%20If%20visible%20from%20road%2C%20could%20cause%20public%20perception%20problems,Avoid%20paddocks%20near%20waterways%20or%20roads%2C%20choose%20a%20paddock%20earmarked%20for%20renovation|[b]Gravel%20laneway,Low%20capital%20outlay%2C%20cows%20can%20be%20kept%20near%20the%20dairy,Can%20degrade%20lane%20for%20future%20use%2C%20cows%20won%E2%80%99t%20lie%2C%20muddy,Choose%20laneways%20with%20good%20drainage%20to%20capture%20and%20divert%20effluent|[b]Crop,Retains%20soil%20fertility%2C%20low%20capital%20outlay%2C%20less%20moving%20of%20stock,Can%20lead%20to%20soil%20compaction%2C%20gets%20muddy%20quickly%2C%20can%E2%80%99t%20capture%20effluent,Feed%20a%20longer%20break%20so%20cows%20can%20lie%20on%20crop%20rather%20than%20mud.[/vc_table][vc_column_text]

Source: Moran & McDonald, 2010

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