High Traffic Areas on the Farm


The dry fall of 2023 has been interrupted by rainfall in recent days, which means winter mud. Heavy-traffic areas around the farm and livestock spaces can quickly become a mess during winter months. Properly designed and installed high-traffic areas can help you and your livestock stay on solid ground this winter.

The most overlooked but arguably most important aspect of a high-traffic area is geotextile fabric. The porous fabric allows water to filtrate into the soil while holding the rock in place. The fabric also creates a separation between the soil and rock while distributing loads across a larger area. Geotextile fabric adds both strength and longevity to a high-traffic area.

Prior to installing geotextile fabric, topsoil should be removed. While removing topsoil, watch for areas in which the subsoil pumps. These areas will need improvements in soil drainage.Remove additional soil from these areas and refill with large rocks to improve soil drainage andstability.

When installing geotextile fabric, be sure to remove any wrinkles in the fabric and overlap the fabric by two feet where pieces join. Avoid dropping rocks from higher than 3 feet to avoid damaging the fabric.

A layer of coarse rock (No. 3 or 4 limestone) should first be applied on top of the fabric at a depth of 4-6 inches. Then apply 2-3 inches of dense grade. Be sure to cover all the coarse rock well. Compact the dense grade.

High-traffic areas that receive livestock manure should be scraped frequently. Manure left unscraped will work in between rocks, leading to failure of the system. Additional dense gradesshould be added from time to time. Add dense grade to worn areas, wet the dense grade, and then compact.  

For more information, contact the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service at (270) 384-2317.  



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