Woodchip pads are a sustainable alternative to outwintering stock on grassland and are a reduced-cost alternative to conventional housing, said Ken Smith, ADAS, at a recent meeting at High Tor Farm, Coalville, Leicestershire.
“The pads are made up of a layer of woodchip over an impermeable subsoil or lining, with drainage pipes directing effluent to a store. This differs from woodchip corrals, often seen in Scotland, which overlay free-draining soil, with no impermeable base.”
Although bark pads are not new, there has been little research into their design and management, and as such research is being undertaken by ADAS as part of a LINK funded Research Project.
“Our work has shown bark pads can be cost-effective and work well when design is considered thoroughly,” said Mr Smith.
On average, bark pads cost about £250/head, depending on how much work is contracted out, versus £400/head for a yard or £900/head for a shed.
But there are a series of key considerations when constructing bark chip pads: