Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Agriculture | Engineering | Transportation Engineering

Publication Details

The Journal of Agricultural Science, 2023:1-10.


In pasture-based grazing systems, farm roadways are a pivotal link to connect paddocks on the grazing platform to the milking parlour. However, their effectiveness in the efficient movement of the dairy herd between the grazing paddocks and the milking parlour has yet to be fully quantified. A validation experiment was conducted on a research farm to analyse characteristics on farm roadways that may affect cow throughput, which was observed as the number of cows per minute (CPM) passing a specified location. Roadway width (R2 = 0.96) and surface condition score (SC) (R2 = 0.78, respectively) were both positively associated with CPM. Public road crossings imposed a 32.7% reduction in CPM in this study. CPM increased from 12.4 CPM on a one-metre-wide roadway with a SC of Index 1 to 107.6 CPM on a five-metre roadway with a SC of Index 5. This exercise allowed for CPM on commercial farms to be predicted. Farm roadways were examined across 55 Irish dairy farms. Greater roadway width, reduced verge width and greater water run-off were each associated with higher SC on commercial farms. Larger herd sizes had a lower CPM relative to herd size in contrast to smaller herd sizes, resulting in a significantly longer total time to move the dairy herd through any specific point on the farm roadway network. The findings from this study have quantified the parameters which affect both CPM on commercial farm roadways and parameters which may be associated with SC on commercial farm roadways.