Working the land to make a living is very much a game of chance. Farmers and ranchers are often at the mercy of Mother Nature to provide the necessary elements for profitable success.
While there’s no way to control the weather, there are certain steps farmers and ranchers can take to increase the probability that things will work out in their favor. The installation of grain bins as on-site storage solutions is an important one.
The Many Benefits of Grain Bins
In many ways, grain bins have long been a staple of farm and ranch life. As family farms work to thrive across the nation and commercial farming becomes more the standard, these storage solutions are more essential than ever before.
On-site grain bins provide a convenient alternative to working with local grain elevators and merchandisers whose prices frequently fluctuate according to demand. They also provide the essential protection from the elements that farmers and ranchers depend on to keep grain in quality condition year-round.
Drying grain can be a costly and time-consuming process. Those who invest in on-site grain bins will cut down on drying time and open up options when it comes to selling in accordance with market fluctuations.
Versatile Bin Options
Traditionally, grain bins were standardized metal structures with little in the way of size variation. Today, the reality is very different.
Farmers and ranchers now enjoy a versatile lineup of grain bin options that range from durable metal structures in varying sizes to lightweight and bulk poly bins. In the modern world of farming and ranching, it’s common for a combination of grain bin styles and structures to work best for operations large and small.
Metal grain bins are often still the preferred choice amongst consumers when it comes to long-term grain storage. The durability of metal surfacing provides the assurance that these structures will pay for themselves over the long-term. Additionally, the ability to add specialized accessories to metal bins such as stiffeners, ladders, and auger kits make it simple to customize a bin according to the needs of a farm or ranch.
Poly bins tend to be excellent choices for feed storage thanks to their semi-translucent façade which provides farmers and ranchers with a clear view of refill levels. Smooth poly surfaces prevent grain clogging and are far lighter in weight than their metal counterparts.
Farmers and ranchers will find that both metal and poly bins provide an exceptional level of successful storage whether they’re looking to place seeds, grains, or pellets. Having these options available allows for fitting your on-site storage needs to your specific land requirements.
More to Consider
The weather and the market may fluctuate but having grain bins right on-site means farmers and ranchers never have to worry about adjusting their prices to meet the demands of communal storage. It’s also important to consider the fact that access to on-site grain bins means more freedom when it comes to determining a profitable harvest schedule.
When you’re ready to install a collection of grain bins on your farm or ranch, you might even see significant benefits within your tax bracket. In many cases, grain bins can be claimed as an expense against income.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a cattle guard for your crossing. Some of the most important are: The type of traffic using it, the speed of traffic, and of course, the type of animal they’re being installed for.
Please note that cattle guards don’t work with all animals. Animals with small, sure-footed hooves like goats can make it across as can soft-padded feet like cats and dogs. We also don’t recommend they be used with horses as their smaller and slender legs have the potential of sliding between the bars.
Below are a few guidelines for help with selecting the right type of cattle guard for your project.
Cattle Guard Top Rail Types
These livestock barriers are typically made of steel with round or flat top rails. There are also concrete designs for lower traffic areas as well. Each has its advantages and we’ve listed a few here.
Flat top rails are ideal for roadways with high-speed traffic. While round top rails tend to be the most effective at stopping the flow of hoofed traffic, they can also be jarring for vehicles, especially at high speeds.
Flat top rails make for a more comfortable ride and still offer an effective barrier for containing cattle. In addition, the flat top rail design is easier for humans to walk over if necessary. Our flat rail cattle guards meet AASHTO standards and are rated for loads ranging from 12-30 tons per axle, depending on the product and needed load-carrying capacity.
One of the most effective methods of keeping cattle in a designated area such as a pasture, or out of an area such as around a home is the round top rail. They can be used to keep deer out when mounted side-by-side and the rounded surface prevents livestock from balancing a hoof
We’re pleased to offer options suitable for both private and public roadway use in round rails. The private use design is the most economical and we estimate its capacity at 12 tons per axle to accommodate fully loaded semis. Public roadways and highways naturally require more robust materials, and our products for this purpose meet applicable standards with schedule 40 steel rated for loads up to 16 tons per axle.
As you may know, cattle guards are an effective deterrent for hoofed animals like cows and deer, but they can be downright dangerous for horses. What if you have both on your property? Concrete cattle guard forms are the perfect solution. They’ll keep cattle
contained, just like steel, but the narrowing gap ensures that horse hooves won’t slide down and get caught between rails, creating a risk for broken legs as the animal struggles.
Concrete cattle guard forms also offer the opportunity to create as many cattle guards as you might need, and because they’re rendered in concrete, they act as their own foundation.
The forms are easy to ship and we offer a reusable design. You may pour as many concrete crossings as you like and set them end-to-end directly on the ground. They are their own foundations!
While you could set steel cattle guards in a depression or directly on a roadway, there are several disadvantages to doing so. The guards could walk, or shift position from traffic driving over an uneven roadway surface. They may also settle into a trench, or settle unevenly, creating hazardous driving conditions. With proper foundations in place, you can avoid these potentially dangerous installations and prevent settling and moving.
Wings are another smart addition as they help you effectively tie in adjacent fencing. Wings prevent livestock from walking around the fence post where it meets the cattle guard. The steel structure transfers the physical barrier of the fence line to the entire edge of the cattle guard, making the ‘walk around’ impossible.
There may be areas of your property where you want to get through fencing without the need for a gate, but you don’t necessarily need a cattle guard large and robust enough to accommodate full-sized vehicles.
Small, portable, and affordable ATV cattle guards are the ideal solution. These diminutive structures require no foundations or digging. Simply cut a hole in your fence line, place the guard on the ground, and tie it into your fencing for quick and easy installation. The raised center design provides an effective deterrent to cattle while allowing your machines to easily cross.
They’ll accommodate Gators, Kubotas, and other ATVs up to six feet wide. Larger sizes are available upon request and feature a re-design for the longer wheelbases on 4-place machines.
Be sure to consider the above when selecting the type of cattle guard for your project and let us know if we can help with your decision.
The cattle guard has been the staple of livestock control on the farm and ranch for decades. Farm gates are the workhorse of animal containment, but the inconvenience for the user created the desire for something better; something that didn’t require extra effort to pass through was needed. A system that allowed for effortless and frequent access through fence lines was needed.
Secure containment without the need to close a gate is paramount in remote and high-traffic areas. Some people may have been granted access to your land who are not related to the ranch itself. These users of the entry are typically not as responsible for latching gates behind them every time they access the area as you are.
The trouble with using farm gates
The traditional metal swing-gate did a fine job of keeping livestock contained in pastures but required some discipline from those using them. The inconvenience of stopping equipment, and climbing down to open a gate while fending off any curious livestock was more than just a pain in the neck to users.
Users would also need to drive through the gate while keeping animals at bay, only to stop again to ward them off and close the gate behind them. They also needed to make sure it was securely latched before leaving.
When making several trips a day through a fenceline, or relying on strangers that access the property to close them, was inconvenient. Livestock containment is not guaranteed. The installation and use of a cattle guard provides ease of use, peace of mind and is a huge time saver!
Gates are inconvenient are are only as secure as those using them – Cattle guards are FOOLPROOF
Gates require that everyone who uses them be responsible enough to make sure they are secured after being closed. A lot of pastures are in remote areas and need to be accessed by non-ranchers. Land access may be granted to companies that operate cell phone towers, oil wells, or other facilities. These areas require less than frequent maintenance by non-farm-related personnel. The sporadic traffic by those not familiar with livestock, or maybe just more concerned with convenience than keeping animals contained, don’t always do the best job of keeping gates closed. Leaving them open after they enter a pasture because ‘there are no cattle around’, only leads to animals sneaking out. With a cattle guard, there’s no more searching and rounding up escaped animals because someone left a gate open!
No more searching and rounding up escaped animals because someone left a gate open when using Cattle Guards!
The cattle guard design was born out of convenience and animal security. Once it was discovered that flat-hoofed livestock needed flat surfaces for secure footing, a design was born. The convenience of not opening and closing gates was here to stay!
Cattle Guards – Effective Livestock Barriers
To effectively keep cattle in the pasture where they belong without the use of a gate, a strong deterrent needs to be present. The standard cattle guard relies on two.
The optical deterrent
The first line of defense is the creation of a visible barrier. Cattle guards with round top rails create shadows and a perception of depth that cows pick up on as treacherous. Some studies show when presented with highly contrasting lines painted horizontally across a roadway, some cattle will be spooked enough not to cross. The optical barrier created by the shadows of the rounded rails, when coupled with the actual physical depth of the vaulted area beneath it, creates a strong disincentive for further exploration and will usually turn a cow before they even consider stepping on it.
The physical deterrent
When coupled with the visual perception of danger, the physical barrier of a Texas Gate usually creates an overwhelming urge to retreat. The most common guards are made with a round top pipe. This is so when a large, flat-hoofed animal steps on it, it creates such an unstable balancing condition for the animal. They instinctively realize it is unsafe footing and realize it is an insurmountable obstruction. They will turn away before putting any real weight on their first ‘test hoof’ and be strongly persuaded to never go near it again.
Dangers and Shortcomings of Cattle Guards
We don’t recommend cattle guards be used with all animals. Some can walk right across (goats), some can leap over (deer) and they can present an outright danger to horses if one ever gets caught up in one.
With the convenience of using these round pipe crossings as effective barriers, there are also dangers present for other animals. The gaps between the top pipes are excellent at creating unstable footing. They also add an optical impediment to crossing livestock and can create a hazard for other animals. The most at risk are horses and we strongly recommend that they not be used with equine. A horse has smaller hooves and thinner legs than bovine. Their slender legs can slide down between the rails to the bottom of the vaulted area. This puts the most fragile part of the leg at risk of breaking. When a flight animal such as a horse begins to struggle to try and free itself, it can break its leg trying to get out. There’s nothing worse than seeing a horse stuck in a cattle guard. We do not recommend cattle guard use with equine animals – best to use a gate.
Paws and Small Hoofs
A cattle guard is as effective with non-hoofed animals such as dogs and cats. Other smaller, sure-footed hoofed creatures like goats and sheep also cross. The soft pad of a paw allows the animals to walk across the rounded surface of the top pipe. Some smaller hoofed animals can also achieve balance on top of the rails for an easy traverse. Goats are great at balancing on almost anything including cattle guards.
One exception we have seen is with deer. Even though they have smaller hooves, they don’t like the unstable footing and will usually look for other paths or routes to roam. However, due to their incredible jumping abilities, we recommend a 12′ or deeper guard to provide a sufficient deterrent for large leaps. They can easily jump a 6′ or 8′ distance but usually won’t attempt a 12′ or longer jump.
Texas Gate Summery
Whether used in a large farm and ranch operation with frequent traffic or a remote area with sporadic traffic, a cattle guard can be an excellent option for keeping your livestock contained. They’ll effortlessly keep them where you want them: grazing and growing. Keep in mind they don’t work for all animals, but they’re a terrific option for cattle and provide the ultimate convenience for vehicles.
Visit Barn World for their large selection and ask their knowledgeable staff if a guard is right for your operation. They’re also happy to put together a quote with shipping right to your job site!
Cattle Guards allow easy access to farm and ranch pastures by eliminating the need for gates. They give free and open access through fence lines but keep livestock contained. All of our cattle guards are constructed with heavy wall steel pipe and extra thick steel channel beams. The ends are capped to prevent rust and wings and boxes are available with all sizes.
Different Types of Cattle Guards
Below are a few different designs for standard and specialized uses. Traditional installations mount directly to concrete foundations while the boxed feature allows them to be used without a foundation.
Boxed style cattle guards
The round top rail cattle guards are available with a box welded around the perimeter. Boxed styles are designed to lay directly on flat ground on a crushed gravel bed for proper drainage. To help prevent movement and settling, they can be bolted down to buried railroad ties.
In many cases, they’re at construction sites to clean equipment, be used as a wash rack when hosing down vehicles, or as rumble strips to rattle dirt off passing trucks. The lack of foundation makes them valuable in remote locations such as cell phone towers and other low-traffic areas such as driveways or distant grazing land.
In all cases, a local contractor familiar with soil conditions and drainage considerations should be consulted when planning an installation.
The flat style is designed to be mounted on cement footings and is the most popular for use in high traffic areas and public roadways. They are bolted directly to the concrete footings and have a ‘vaulted’ area or the space underneath. This provides a visual deterrent to animals and is very effective in dissuading them from attempting to cross over.
For these permanent installations, an optional hinged section made up of three top rails can be swung open to allow for cleaning out the area beneath. It makes it a lot easy to remove debris that may have been collected in the vault. This feature is not available on all guards but may be included with the flat top rail design.
General Cattle Guard Notes
Below are some general notes, considerations, and guidelines that can help you make the proper selection for your project.
All of our cattle guards are built to carry the weight of fully loaded tractor-trailers. The most economical is the private-use category, popular for driveways and general farm use. We estimate the load-carrying capacity to be around 12 tons per axle and they’re designed for use on private driveways and with general farm equipment access.
The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides guidelines for cattle guards and establishes maximum load ratings. The ratings are designed to match all types of applications and uses. (See the table at the bottom of this article for more details on the load ratings.)
AASHTO Load Design Specifications
H-15 (12 tons per axle)
H-20 (16 tons per axle)
U-54 (25 tons per axle)
U-80 (30 tons per axle)
Rated cattle guards will meet the specifications needed for state and federal requirements such as DOT, BLM, USFS, NP, and US Military installations. They are also used in commercial applications such as mining, forestry, agriculture, and petroleum production. Rated cattle guards are the product of choice for residential usage where city, county, or state regulations require the HS20 rating. Certified structural steel is used in the manufacture of HS20-rated cattle guards.
HS20 cattle guards will be certified by an independent engineering firm to meet commercial standards and are intended for government bids. For use on private land, buying standard cattle guards will save you thousands of dollars, are identical in size, and are made out of the same materials. They just do not come with the certifications and paperwork back to the steel mill that government agencies require. If a non-rated guard for a private drive is needed, use a standard cattle guard.
Cattle guards may be constructed with 3″, 3-1/2″ or 4″-1/2″ pipe. The 4″ pipe allows for an approximate gap of 4″ between each pipe and is built with 9 pieces. The 3-1/2″ outside diameter pipe guards have 11 pieces and are approximately 12-1/2″ tall.
There is no difference in strength between the boxed cattle guard and the flat styles of cattle guards. These cattle guards are designed to accommodate full semi-loads at 10 tons per axle. All cattle guards weigh about 100 Lbs. per foot (a 10′ cattle guard weighs about 1,000 Lbs.). Add approximately 8 Lbs. per foot for boxed cattle guards and about another 200 Lbs. total for winged cattle guards.
Using Cattle Guards with Deer
To use for deer, you may need to place two cattle guards in tandem so you have 16 feet of protection. Cattle guards are easily bolted together to achieve greater distances in the direction of travel and create a larger deterrent for any animal wishing to attempt a jump. Please note that we recommend standard gates be used when containing horses, goats, all small hoofed and sure-footed animals, and animals with paws.
Ordering your cattle guard:
For a shipping quote, please send us an email with your destination zip code and quantity, or feel free to call the telephone number at the bottom of this page with any questions you may have about our cattle guards.
When ordering cattle guards you will pay for the order without the shipping and we will collect the exact shipping cost with a second charge to the credit card used for the order.
Note: You must have equipment available to unload the cattle guards from the delivery vehicle when it arrives. The delivery truck will require you to unload the cattle guard with a loader or forklift or some other means upon delivery.
Note about cattle guard dimensions: Private use cattle guards are NOT built to exact dimensions. Sizes may vary slightly. Adding the removable box option will add about 7″ to the total length and width of the cattle guard. For example, a 12-foot cattle guard will be about 12′-7″.
If you have any questions, would like a quote with shipping or if we can help with anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be glad to assist in any way we can.
Don’t forget, Barn World is your headquarters for all your farm and ranch supplies including hay feeders, livestock scales, saddle pads, and even grain bins. We have a complete selection of livestock supplies for your everyday needs.
Here’s a great article from the Wall Street Journal about the complexities of measuring and trading in bushels. We all use the term frequently when describing grain bin capacities, but when using the term to trade large quantities or set commodity prices, the actual calculations become quite involved and the quantity traded can become pretty ‘abstract’ as described in the article below.
Picture of a bushel of soybeans
Prices of agricultural commodities are quoted that way, even though many have never actually come across the baskets; ‘kind of an abstract amount’
Soybean prices have long been quoted in bushels at the Chicago Board of Trade.
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China this year have caused gyrations in soybean prices, which recently climbed above $9 a bushel. They also have people buried in soybean math.
Prices of agricultural commodities have for decades been quoted in bushels at the Chicago Board of Trade, yet many traders and farmers have never actually come across soybeans in the quaint wooden basket that has existed for centuries.
“Most people haven’t seen a bushel basket—I never have,” said Anthony Stinton, a soybean meal trader in Greeley, Colo. Scrawled on a yellow sticky note on his computer is a formula he punches into a calculator multiple times a day to convert metric tons of soybeans grown in Brazil into their American bushel equivalent. “It’s kind of an abstract amount,” Mr. Stinton said.
A bushel of soybeans is roughly enough dry beans to fill eight gallons or 2,150.42 cubic inches of space, the capacity of a traditional bushel basket. That is the equivalent of 60 pounds of soybeans. In the Bible, bushels were used as containers for grains, seeds, and flour. At farm stands and markets, bushels can be found filled with apples, crabs, and raw vegetables. The phrase “a bushel and a peck” is fairly well-known thanks to a popular “Guys and Dolls” song. (A peck is a quarter of a bushel or eight quarts.)
commodity conversion rate formulas
Trader Anthony Stinton keeps the conversion rates for soybeans and corn stuck to his computer. Photo: Anthony Stinton
In the commodities world, they are a mathematical headache. Ariel Haendler, global head of soybean trading at Chinese state-owned trading giant Cofco International, said he always carries a calculator when he attends strategy discussions with colleagues and uses it to convert metric weights into bushels. (1 metric ton of soybeans = 36.74 bushels.)
During those meetings, there is “always a 10-second break when we make these big calculations on these calculators going back and forth like we’re in the fourth grade,” said the Swiss-based American trader. Even though Mr. Haendler has the formula memorized, getting the numbers wrong could be potentially costly, he added.
To help market participants with their math, CME Group Inc., which operates the Chicago Board of Trade, has a 44-page pocket guide that includes scores of weight-conversion tables for a range of commodities.
For example, it recommends that to convert 11,000 metric tons of soybeans to bushels, users can simply add the conversions for 10,000 metric tons (367,437 bushels) and 1,000 metric tons (36,744 bushels) to get a total of 404,181 bushels of soybeans. Each soybean futures contract is made up of 5,000 bushels.
On the Scott family farm in Delphi, Ind., there isn’t a bushel to be found. “It’s just an idea in our head,” says Brian Scott, who grows soybeans with his father and grandfather along with corn and wheat. “We think in bushels but they don’t really measure in bushels,” he said.
Brian Scott grows soybeans on the family farm in Indiana. Photo: Brian Scott
Instead, trucks are filled to the brim with commodities and sent to a depot to be weighed before the produce is sold to trading firms. ”When you deliver, they measure in pounds,” Mr. Scott said, noting they give a receipt with a bushel measurement too. One truckload of beans weighs roughly 1,000 bushels, he says.
America remains an outlier holding on to the old imperial, or U.S. customary system, of pounds and acres when the rest of the world has largely shifted to the metric system of kilograms and hectares. Other countries that use the imperial system include Liberia and Myanmar. In addition to bushels, the U.S. also uses pecks and lugs, which are wooden boxes of no standard size.
Traders say the challenge with bushels is that they are a measurement of volume, so the weight of whatever is in it varies depending on the commodity. While soybeans and wheat weigh roughly the same, corn is slightly lighter.
“If I take the price of Chicago wheat and I want to know what it means for the rest of the world, I multiply it by 36.7437,” said Chris Bird, a senior global wheat trader at Engelhart Commodities Trading Partners, without missing a beat. As he has to do the conversion 20 or 30 times a day, “I have it set up on my screen to do it but honestly, I could almost do it in my head,” he added.
He wasn’t so quick with commodities he doesn’t trade. “Corn is 39 something-something-something…” Mr. Bird said. “It’s very random.”
There’s also confusion between Canadian and U.S. bushels, which have different capacities. The latter is also known as the Winchester bushel—named after a British town—first mentioned in law in the 17th century and was defined as a barrel that is 18-1/2 inches wide and 8 inches deep. The measurement was abolished by the English in 1835, a year before the U.S. Department of Treasury adopted it as a unit of measure.
picture of a bushel
The Winchester bushel, named for a British town, dates back centuries. Photo: SSPL/Getty Images
FarmLead, a Canadian-based online marketplace for soybeans, wheat, and other commodities trades, has a calculator on its website for customers to convert pounds, tons, or other measures to American bushels. The soybeans currently for sale on its site are stored in a flat bottom bin.
Before deals are done, people often need to “scribble out their math” or “double-check the conversion” to make sure buyers and sellers are talking about the same amounts, said Alain Goubau, the company’s chief operating and financial officer. At the end of the day, traders have little choice but to hew to the American system, he said, adding: “It comes down to—do you want to be right or do you want to do business?”
Brian Rohrig’s hog farm outside Des Moines, Iowa, sometimes uses physical bushels made of aluminum to measure soybean meal before it is mixed into feed for the pigs.
The bushel baskets are a decent volume gauge, said Mr. Rohrig, but there’s one downside: they are much heavier than a five-gallon pail. The machine his farm uses to mix animal feed now has its own weighing scale, so there is less need for the bushels, he added.
loading soybeans into a truck
Soybeans were unloaded onto a truck in Illinois. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
The benefits of having cattle guards on your property drastically outweighed the one-time burden of installation. How do you choose what design would be best for your operation? It commonly boils down to choosing between the style of the top pipe: round or flat and the type of traffic that will be using it.
The most aggressive of the steel cattle guards are made with round top pipe and provide a substantial physical livestock barrier. Its curved surface provides the least stable footing possible so your cattle can’t find a balanced or sturdy place to put their weight. The hoof will rock forward or backward and give the most uncomfortable footing possible that’s almost impossible to balance on.
Even if one of your animals does attempt to try a step on a top rail, the experience of the unsettling instability will make them turn the other way and they won’t bother to test it again. The inability to find stable footing on a round pipe is the most effective physical deterrent besides a gate.
Both round and flat pipe cattle guards provide a visual deterrent in addition to their physical barrier. They are traditionally mounted on concrete footings like a bridge which creates an open vaulted area underneath. The drop under the top rails provides a visual cue of depth that in itself, can prevent cattle from attempting to cross.
There have been studies done with visual illusions painted on flat asphalt that resulted in cattle turning away even though the surface was perfectly flat. Researchers painted the illusion of pipes and a corresponding shadow to create the illusion of depth. When the cattle were exposed to the artwork, they assumed it was unstable and elevated and did not attempt to cross.
This optical trick worked for a limited amount of time but eventually did break down after a few days as one of the cattle (the bravest apparently) did place a hoof on it and eventually crossed. The others soon followed and the illusion barrier on its own was defeated.
Boxes for cattle guards:
Barn World offers round pipe cattle guards that have the option of being permanently boxed, an option for laying directly on the ground, or with a removable box for cleaning underneath.
A steel skirt welded around the exterior may be placed directly on the ground. The permanent box keeps dirt from creeping when used without a foundation. It does not bear any weight and is only there to prevent dirt from creeping underneath. The design is simply laid on the ground with a dirt ramp up on either side for vehicle crossings. It’s very popular for low traffic areas and use in construction sites as wash-outs and rumble strips. It can be used to clean construction equipment before going out on a public roadway.
The standalone box stays in the ground so you can lift the guard and clean underneath. The design keeps the surrounding area from being disturbed! It’s a nice feature that allows for a complete cleaning if you have the equipment to lift the guard.
The round pipe design is available in an economical private-use or a highway rating. The HS20, public highway rating is 16 tons per axle and require for use in public roadway projects.
The flat pipe provides the benefit of allowing high-speed traffic to cross more smoothly than a round pipe design. The pipe is flat on top with a large space between each rail. This design is still very effective against hoofs but provides high-speed vehicles with a smoother ride.
flat pipe cattle guard with concrete foundations
These cattle grids are also available to ship with precast concrete cattle guard foundations that can be lowered directly into the ground without the need for pouring concrete on site. The foundations come with anchor bolts already poured into them. The grid may be bolted down to the concrete in the field. The precast foundations are useful in remote areas where concrete is not available.
Flat top pipe guards are available in a wide variety of load ratings for all types of different projects:
Flat Top Pipe Load Rating Availability
H-15 (12 tons per axle)
H-20 (16 tons per axle)
U-54 (25 tons per axle)
U-80 (30 tons per axle)
Secure your livestock and provide easy access to pastures with the right cattle guards for your property. You don’t always need to open a close gate to keep your animals secure!
For more information or help with planning, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help. Sales@BarnWorld.com or (720) 238-2190. Check out our Livestock Youtube Channel!
Feeding with a traditional livestock bale feeder doesn’t present much of a challenge out in the middle of your pasture. You’ll typically take the tractor, drop the hay inside and call it an afternoon, after all this is how it has been done for years. Like all livestock equipment suppliers, we carry a large inventory of the traditional hay feeders, but we came across this new design from Tarter and think it’s worth a look!
Trouble with Traditional Hay Feeders
The problem with a large fixed ring hay feeder is that once your livestock eat the outer layers of the bale, the bale shrinks in size to the point where they can’t reach it anymore. The hay is just out of reach and all it does is entice them to lean against the feeder. This of course leads to metal bending and even cattle climbing inside the feeder to finish off the bale in the center. This can lead to injury and the exciting struggle of trying to help them out!
The ‘Flex Feeders’ are uniquely designed to shrink in size as the bale get smaller and allow your animals to eat the bale entirely. Each of the panels of these feeder are hinged like a door so that when leaned upon, instead of bending, they will actually slide inward around the remaining bale to provide consistent access until it is gone.
Cattle and Horse Hay Feeder Designs
The cattle feeder is made with a top bar all the way around the vertical bars while the horse design is open at the top. See the pictures and videos below for each style and consider this feeder the next time you’re looking for a new bale feeder. This unique design is worth exploring!
As always, if we can help with anything at all, call us at (720) 238-2190, email Sales@BarnWorld.com or visit our website at BarnWorld.com today!
Most of the traditional hay feeders out on the market are just a solid, metal round ring. This closed top flex feeder for cattle has a closed ring around the top for extra strength and is built in multiple, flexible sections. At each section, it’s hinged together almost like a door so as cows consume the hay bale, the flex feeder actually closes around the size of hay that remains inside the feeder as it shrinks.
This feeder makes sure all the hay is accessible
What this allows you to do, no matter the size of the remaining bale or the herd size you have, is give you animals access to your hay not matter the remaining size. The pressure that your animals put on the panels causes the feeder to shrink to the size of the bale. This is nice because as opposed to your traditional, fixed, round bale feeders, the flexible panels won’t get crushed and bent as your animals try to get to the last bit a hay remaining in the center of the feeder. Some traditional feeders can get absolutely destroyed in a matter of hours by larger livestock leaning against the fixed feeder walls.
Hinges are the key!
With the closed top flex feeder, when pressure is applied to the panels, the hinges allow it to slide inward and closer to the hay bale so your livestock have access and eat until the bale is completely gone. The hinged sections are designed with safety in mind and are perfectly safe for all of your farm and ranch animals.
The flexible panel feeder will make you happy as well because your cattle going to make cleanup of that remaining hay effortless and minimize any waste, saving you hay.
The benefit of the flex feeder is that it allows the cattle to get to that last bite of hay. Nothing is inaccessible and wasted and the feeder will serve 8-10 head of cattle.
This adjustable feeder is built for both livestock and horses to have easy access to large bales from when the bale starts out large and uneaten, all the way down to the smaller size when consumed. The pin and loop connections are safe for horses and make it easy to set up. The panels move easily when the bale gets smaller. This provides access as it’s consumed. The sides are moved inward by your animals under normal feeding pressures. The strong frame is made with steel, 1-3/4″ steel tubing and the hay-saving steel skirt keeps loose hay from being trampled. Keep your large bales accessible not matter the changing size with this unique design from Tarter.
If you have any questions on the feeder or if you’d like a quote with shipping to your address, please let us know and we’ll be happy to forward one for your review.
It’s that time of year again when everything is growing by leaps and bounds. Your cattle have made it through the winter and are feasting on the newly acquired grasses and the new calves are making good weight gains.
This unfortunately also means that disease-carrying pests such as horn and face flies, lice, and mosquitoes are becoming abundant and are ready to wreak havoc on your herd. Enter the cattle oilers!
Cattle oilers for livestock pest control
During the spring and summer months, cattle farmers are looking for healthy weight gains in their animals, but unfortunately, many insects are looking to feed on farm and ranch animals which can disrupt the health of not just your cows, but all of your livestock. These pests can also carry and spread debilitating diseases as well.
Livestock Pests and Disease
Flies cause stress and LIMIT grazing time, weight gains
The horn fly is usually seen riding on the backs of cattle, where they can burrow down to the animal’s hide. Once there, they’ll bite repeatedly throughout the day drawing blood. It’s estimated that each fly can bite 20 or more times a day, and that’s just one fly! This constant biting creates stress in its host and creates an itching sensation. This itchiness disrupts grazing time and interferes with weight gains. With milking cows, the stress and discomfort can lower output, and when nursing, can cut calf weight gains as well.
Another very common disease spreading fly is the common face fly. This fly feeds on external fluids, most commonly from the eye. The irritation to the eye is particularly annoying and the constant peskiness as the fly tries to access the fluid creates stress, limits grazing time, and can spread diseases such as pinkeye throughout the herd. Pinkeye is very serious as it can cause not only discomfort but can lead to blindness.
Types of Cattle Oilers for insect control
Fortunately, there is help out there for our livestock. Livestock oiler designs are for the most part pretty straightforward, effective, and simple to use. They provide effective pest control and best of all, some are self-applicating!
Cattle Ear Tags
The ear tags are popular and can be effective but have some disadvantages that self-applicating oilers do not.
Tags require that you run your cattle through the chute and put them through a stressful environment to physically attach the tag. This also requires extra man-hours and increases the potential for injury.
Ear tags also lose their effectiveness and don’t offer full-strength protection year-round as their potency diminishes over time. This requires that they be removed and replaced with another ear tag, costing time, and money and stressing the animals once again.
A ‘one-time’ topical treatment also wears off over time, degrades in the rain, and needs to be re-applied to maintain its performance and effectiveness.
To provide constant and effective livestock pest control, a full-strength application needs to be maintained throughout the season. One of the great advantages of Cattle Oilers is that the pesticide is consistently self-administered. They rely on the animal’s instinct to rub and scratch areas that bother them which applies insecticide right where it’s needed. This is especially true with the brush oiler designs as they can be used to remove winter hair, and nasty pests and be an effective applicator.
Not only are animals able to apply fly protection by themselves, but the constant use of the brushes keeps maximum repellent effectiveness consistent throughout the fly season. There’s no need to reapply anything to the animals as the season goes on as they are keeping themselves protected!
One of the most popular oiler designs is a tank that holds insecticide coupled with strong brushes for application. Typically a top brush is mounted on a steel spring while a side brush is mounted through a bracket to a wall or post to provide the support needed.
As livestock rub up against the brushes the liquid is applied and rubbed into their coats. This is an extremely effective method of application as it gets down into the hair of the animal for maximum effectiveness.
The brushes are so desired by cattle that cattle groomers are offered for removing winter and excess hair. They are the same as the oilers, but they don’t dispense insecticide and don’t use or need a tank.
Another oiler design uses a tank wrapped in felt with a mop used as an applicator. Typically hung in a mineral feeder or traffic alleyway, these gravity-fed systems are excellent for keeping face flies at bay.
A rounded tank with small holes in the sides will ‘leak’ insecticide when tipped by the animals as they go by in an alley or feeder out of a feeder. The small holes release liquid to the felt that is wrapped around the tank and held in place with wire mesh before it is then released to the mop itself. This prevents constantly leaking and provides the liquid only when in use.
Below is a picture of a cattle oiler with a mop being used in an upright mineral feeder. As the cows go in for the mineral, the animal is gently blanketed with the oiler mop and the insecticide is applied automatically. A simple yet effective design for sure.
These are not the only types of oilers being used in the industry but they are very popular and used across the country for effective pest management. Always consult your veterinarian for the appropriate insecticide or pest repellent to use before applying it to your herd.
Please see BarnWorld.com for a large selection of livestock pest controls and feel free to call 720.238.2190 anytime!
The Hi Qual Tombstone Hay Feeder design provides both protection for the feeder from abuse and hay savings for your farm and ranch operation. They are available for both horses and livestock and below is a quick rundown of how these feeders are designed for longevity and will provide reliable hay savings for years to come.
Below are excerpts from their promotional video and key points that illustrate how valuable this can be for you and your animals.
Round Bale Feeder Features
The Tombstone Saver is the feeder that really got Hi Qual the map back in 1980’s and was their first patented item. Their research and development department looked at the problems that were currently associated with hay bale feeding and there were two key issues that they identified: One was that horse hay feeders wasted too much feed and secondly, they just weren’t durable enough. So they came up with this new patented design which we refer to as a Tombstone.
Hay Saving Design
The key feature of this product is the fact that not only is it a tombstone design, but that the tombstones slope inward toward the bale. This creates an inner ring and outer ring, so when a cow comes in to feed, as they’re picking at the bale, the loose feed drops inside the feeder instead of on the ground where gets trampled and wasted. Another nice feature about this design is the fact that is that it’s got an open top. Traditional bale feeders have a top ring, so what we found from our research is that when the cattle are feeding in this product, they tend to keep their head in the feeder rather lifting up and pulling feed out. So again, you get additional savings! How much you ask? Research at the University of Manitoba has shown that with the Tombstone Saver Horse Bale Feeder, you’ll save an average of about 60 pounds of hay for every thousand pounds fed as compared to a traditional slant bar style feeder.
Tombstones protect the feeder from damage
Another great design feature you’ll find with the off-set tombstone design is one that protects the feeder from damage. When the cattle are feeding, they typically want to lean in and on the feeder, which can cause stress on the metal and cause bending or even breakage. With the ‘off-set’ tombstone design, the animal’s legs are kept back away from the feeder before their shoulders can touch the tombstones. This takes away their leverage and they no longer have the ability to push against and move the feeder or cause damage to the uprights by leaning their shoulders or necks on them!
Some other key things to look at with this design, because there’s other round bale feeders on the market, is the material used in construction. The upright hoops are welded directly to the top ring so it can take a lot of stress. It’s also made out of a lot heavier gauge steel than a standard 16 gauge feeder. So for extra strength and longevity, HiQual uses an 11 gauge top ring! On the Hay Saver, the sheeting is mounted on the outside of the lower hay rings to provide a smooth and strong outer hay-saving skirt design. The sheeting not only helps save hay by containing it, but just as importantly, it stops the cattle from climbing up and getting inside the feeder. This particular feeder comes with 15 feeding stations which is a very high capacity and it’ll take a 6 foot round bale.
Ease of loading
You can also actually take the feeder apart and with the hinge kit, open it up to help loading a hay bale. At the joint, you just take the bolts out and install the hinge. You can then simply pull the pin and open the feeder up which then allows you to easily feed with a three point hitch. This feeder is more convenient and more versatile than your typical livestock bale feeder.
It’s also important to look at the bottom of the feeder. There are three mud legs on each feeder panel and what the mud legs do, is keep it up out of the mud, that’s why they call them mud legs but it also prevents it from freezing down to the ground in the winter. Imagine if your feeder’s bottom ring was down in the ground and frozen. When you came to move it with your loader by putting a chain over the top to grab it, you’d put a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress on the product. Again, it’s very important to keep that up off the ground and out of the mud.
One final thing to point out is that we are talking about quality and durability with HiQual products in general. A simple design change makes a world of difference and you’ll find their Tombstone Hay Saver Feeder has a vertical support post which is welded between the top ring and the bottom ring underneath each tombstone. What that means is, when there’s pressure placed on the upright, you got the vertical posts, the horizontal ring and the sheet metal all working together in a coordinated fashion to prevent any bending. It all means that at the end of the day, this feeder will last you for 10, 15 or 20 years and won’t end up in the boneyard or out the back 40 being unused or discarded as a typical round hay bale feeder might.
Each Spring we get a lot of questions about the use and effectiveness of cattle guards. Whether it’s selecting the proper load rating, to what animals they truly work with, a few quick, concise answers can provide decades of convenience and security. Below is a quick outline of the various types, load ratings, benefits, and dangers to be aware of when using these effective livestock barriers.
It’s probably obvious, but cattle guards don’t require any effort to operate! Once installed, there isn’t anything to do except drive across them. On the other hand, the typical livestock gate requires quite the production to use. The routine is to drive up to the gate and stop, chase any animals away from the opening as possible, jump back in your vehicle and pull through to stop yet again. Now, quickly get out and close the gate behind you before any of your herd decides to escape.
This is a tedious process and all but impossible when there is a group of animals near the gate to manually operate the gate. Add a bit of weather or cold temperatures and it really becomes a hassle. Frequently crossing a fence line with hay equipment, tractors with feed or deliveries almost necessitates a more convenient option than a manual gate.
If the logistics of operating a gate are tough for you to deal with, imagine how attentive others will be when crossing your fence line. If you have third parties that need access to your pasture, such as maintenance crews for cell phone towers, oil rigs, etc, they may not be as careful as you are when using them. They may even leave it open thinking they’ll be back before an animal notices it’s open or forgets to close it altogether. There’s nothing like having to find and chase down your cattle because someone forgot to close a gate!
A cattle guard will provide peace of mind knowing that it literally cannot be left open and your animals will always be safe, secure, and right where you left them. No sleepless nights wondering if a gate was left open and no more calls from the neighbors or police about wandering animals.
HOW A CATTLE GUARD WORKS
There are a few different cattle guard designs out there but they all rely on the ability to present unstable footing and depth perception as deterrents. The combination of the two creates a very effective livestock barrier!
– Walking on a rounded surface with a flat foot is a difficult task. Try it with a large hoof and an extremely rounded pipe and you will have a tough time balancing. Add a 1,000 pounds and you have real trouble!
We’ve all stood on top of small, rounded rock (imagine crossing a stream) and realized how difficult it is to balance on the small, rounded surface. This is still difficult even though our foot does have some flexibility in it to help grip the rock. That is the design and physical component that makes cattle grids so effective.
The round pipes that make up the top of the guard create an extremely difficult and physically uncomfortable footing for large-hoofed animals. Unable to get any kind of secure footing, they simply cannot put any weight on their leg for a place to stand. The rounded surface doesn’t allow them to gain any type of stable footing. This sensation is extremely uncomfortable, unpleasant and so physically demanding that they remember this strong deterrent in the future. This will help keep them from challenging the barrier in the future and most will shy away when it’s presented again. Although some will never test it or put a hoof on the first rail, those that do don’t usually put weight on the first step and retreat to ‘safer pastures’.
The vaulted area dug under the guard creates a confusing and frightful illusion for cattle. They see the deep area under the guard and get the sensation that they can fall. This confuses and distorts their depth perception when approaching and usually creates the desire to turn around.
There are some studies out there where a roadway was painted to create an optical illusion of depth, like that seen with a traditional cattle guard, and almost all of the cattle that encountered it wouldn’t go across. It was just paint on flat pavement, but the illusion was enough to keep them from crossing.
TYPES OF CATTLE GUARDS
Most ‘Texas Gates‘ are constructed out of steel and finished in either a powder coat or directly applied enamel paint. In the rare case, they may be galvanized however that hot-dipping process does add substantial costs.
Concrete can also provide the same visual and physical deterrents to livestock that steel does. The nice thing about concrete is, you can order forms and make your own. Simply drop in the re-bar, pour the concrete into the form, and removed it to install in place when ready. The concrete cattle guards do come with an HS20, 16 ton/axle rating and you may pour as many as you like with a single form.
Load Ratings – To install cattle guards in a public roadway, they must meet the HS-20 standards called out for by the Department of Transportation. They require a carrying capacity of at least 16 tons per axle. Below is a chart of the various load ratings and their capacities:
AASHTO Design Specifications
H-15 (12 tons per axle)
H-20 (16 tons per axle)
U-54 (25 tons per axle)
U-80 (30 tons per axle)
Most farms and ranches don’t need the DOT 16 ton per axle rate and will install the more economical private use cattle guards or go with the 12 ton per axle rating. They are much more economical and will still carry a fully loaded semi-truck but be sure to check with your local governing agencies before installing a cattle guard on your property. Some municipalities require specific ratings for government and emergency vehicles such as fire trucks that may need to access your property.
DANGERS OF CATTLE GUARDS
Although they work extremely well with cattle, they are not designed to prevent all animals were crossing. Small hoofed animals are quite agile and can balance easily on the rounded surface. The smaller ‘footprint’ allows them to balance quite easily so they don’t encounter the same unstable footing that is presented by a large hoof. Goats are a prime example, you won’t keep them in with a cattle grid.
Horses: A special note is needed here as we do not recommend cattle guards be used with horses. Their slender hooves can slide down in between the rails which exposes their long, slender legs to high leverage and possible breakage. During the panic to remove themselves, they will struggle and could easily break their leg in the effort. We highly recommend only traditional gates be used to contain horses.
Cattle guards provide an effective livestock barrier and a convenient method for vehicular traffic and equipment to cross fence lines while eliminating the risk of an open gate and a free herd of cattle. With proper installation, these gate-less entries can provide decades of containment for your largest groups of cattle.
If you have any questions or would like help selecting the proper cattle guard for your operation, please contact Barn World Livestock Supplies today and they’ll be happy to help!