High Traffic Area pads are a management option to reduce soil disturbances on any farm that is home to livestock. Heavy use pads are made using geotextile fabric under a 4 to 6 inch base layer of No. 3 or 4 gravel, topped by 2 to 3 inches of dense grade. These pads are about a third of the cost of concrete, but require regular maintenance and the addition of gravel over time. High traffic area pads reduce wheel traffic damage and soil compaction caused by tractors associated with winter feeding. They improve hay feeding efficiency by reducing trampling losses and lowering the risk for soil erosion. They can also improve health and reduce the risk of animal injury due to excessive mud. Six steps to installing a high traffic use area include:

  1. Construction — develop your plan.
  2. Excavation — remove topsoil in the desired area until you have stable soil base.
  3. Geotextile Fabric — lay heavy duty geotextile fabric to provide subgrade stabilization.
  4. Gravel Base Layer (No.3 or 4) &mbdash; carefully spread an even layer (4 to 6 inches) over the geotextile fabric. This provides stability and space for drainage of water.
  5. Dense grade surface layer — spread 2 to 3 inches evenly over the gravel.
  6. Compaction — use compaction equipment to create a road-like surface.

Geotextile fabric

Geotextile fabric in place after excavation.