Thompson Longhorn

Cattle & Livestock Stockyard Gates

Introduction

A gate acts as an entry or exit point in any pen to allow livestock to flow from one pen to another. It is the most basic mechanical component in a set of stockyards. In its closed position it acts like a panel and for convenience it can be swung out of the way to create a point of access. One end of the gate has hinges while the other has some type of latching to restrain it in either the open or closed position. Gates are normally located in the corners of pens for ease of livestock flow.

 
Farm Cattle & Livestock Stockyard Gate
Sheeted Gate Neoprene Hinge Slam Latched (back)
5 Rail Oval Gate Metal Hinges Chain Latched (Front)

Stockyard Gate Design

At Thompson Longhorn the nominal gate length is based on the stockyard frame post center distances, in which it will be mounted, not the actual overall of the gate by itself.
Gates can vary in length depending on application. Only a narrow gate is required for personnel access but a wider one is required for machinery or main stockyard entry point. This can be two gates used together to create a double gate (gate latches to gate). There are optimum lengths which are based on cutting efficiency, weight and ability to withstand livestock impacts.

Stockyard Gate Materials

Normally similar materials and construction are used in the gate as in the surrounding panels. So gates could use oval or square steel and sheeting (refer to panels for more). However if cable panels are used then typically a 4 rail oval rail gate is used.

Stockyard Gate Height

Gate height is also chosen based on surrounding panel heights (refer to panels for more).

Stockyard Gate Swing Angle

There are three different classifications to define swing angle, 180°, 270° and front mounting.
A 180° gate is nominally ±90° rotation from its closed position. These gates can however swing up to ±110° but for simplicity 90° is used. They are best suited to be hinged perpendicular to a fence line, allowing them to be opened against that fence line and chained to hold them open. A gate fully open and not chained to anything (post, panel, frame etc.) will incur damage to its hinge or hinge end post when livestock hit it.
A 270° gate can swing 90° in one direction, from closed and 180° the other way. These gates can be located in line with a fence line and still be opened and chained to it. They are ideal in locations where they open 180° into a pen and up to 90° into a lane. This is the case for exiting most drafting pens. Due to these gates opening further in one direction than the other there are LH and RH configurations.
A front mount gate swings about 160° in one direction only. This configuration is commonly used as the entry and exit gates for sale pens at sale yards, where the gate can’t swing into the pen but only into a lane. Due to their hinging configuration two gates can be hinged from the same post and there are also LH and RH configurations. An important note with this gate is that its nominal length has to be greater than the nominal width of the lane it is opening into.

Stockyard Gate Hinges

At Thompson Longhorn there are typically two different hinges used, pressed metal or greasable neoprene.
With the pressed metal hinges, the gate’s swing angle is created by the way the hinges are mounted to the stockyard frame. If the hinge is mounted inside the stockyard frame then it is limited to the 180° (±90°) or if it is mounted to a corner of the stockyard frame then this creates a front mounted gate.
The neoprene hinges can be either 270° or 180° depending on which hinge housing is used. The 180° hinge housing also suits the larger heavier gates since it doesn’t have the offset hinge design. These housings are used in drafts, pounds, crowds etc. The neoprene hinge is based on the same technology used in 4WD suspension, which has been used for many years in hot, dry climates and rugged applications.

Stockyard Gate Latching

The two most common ways to latch gates are either slam or chain and in some cases both are used.
Slam latches consist of a spring loaded pin to secure the gate into place. A considerable amount of force is required to try and retract this manually. However a cam gives you mechanical advantage over the spring to retract the pin by twisting its handle. A corresponding striker plate is required to be mounted to the stockyard frame. This has a slot that engages the pin. This striker plate needs to be ramped to retract the pin and engage it into a slot. It also has a stop to prevent it skipping over the slot. If the gate is required to swing both directions from the striker, then a striker with ramps on both sides of the slot can be used. A single ramped striker lends itself to having the gate thrown closed whereas with a double ramped striker the gate has to be closed manually.
Slam latches are suitable for frequently used gates as time is saved by not having to chain them closed. When these gates are located in a lane or race fence line where they will have cattle pressing against them they are best double slam latched. In these cases, a chained gate would flop around in its closed position whereas a slam latch secures the gate into place. A latched gate also needs a good stockyard frame with a cap rail to ensure the latch will line up with the striker slot. The striker plate does have a long slot to compensate for some movement.
All personnel access gates have a single slam latch and the handles on these require guarding to prevent animals being able to open the gate.
Chained gates are used everywhere else as they are cheaper and don’t require high tolerances. There are two chains for each gate, one to hold it open and the other to hold it closed. The open position chain is generally shorter and located on a panel or post, whereas the closed position is longer and mounted to the stockyard frame. The longer chain allows it to be wrapped around the rail twice preventing cattle from licking or rubbing it undone. Chains are not mounted to the gate as this causes clanging when a gate is opened potentially frightening the cattle.

Stockyard Gate styles

Air Driven Gate

  • Either oval rail or sheeted gate configurations.
  • Two heights to suit either 2.4m or 3.0m cap height stockyard frames.
  • Use Neoprene hinges.
  • Specific LH or RH operation.
  • Single ram used to unlatch as well as swing the gate.
  • Double slam latch, with single ramped strikers.
  • Can only have one latching point.
  • Rubber buffered to reduce noise.
  • Limited rotation angle of 100° in one direction due to air drive unit.
  • Used in lanes or bugle as dividers.

Personnel Gates

  • Either oval or sheeted gate configurations.
  • Also available a shorter gate configuration to suit catwalk access.
  • High, suiting the higher pressure pens and lanes.
  • Slam latched with double ramped striker.
  • Pressed metal hinges.
  • Specific LH or RH operation for sheeted gates.

5 Oval Rail Gate

  • Available in types of hinge and housing configurations for all swing types.
  • Oval rails.
  • High, suiting the higher pressure pens and lanes.
  • Suit either chained, single slam latch or combination of both.
  • Used in conjunction with 5 oval rail precut panels and unboltable panels.

4 Oval Rail Gate

  • Available in both types of hinge and housing configurations but not the front mounted swing angle.
  • Oval rails.
  • Lower height suiting the low pressure pens such as holding and feed yards.
  • Chain latching only, as used in lower pressure areas.
  • Used in conjunction with 4 oval rail precut panels and cable panels.

Sheeted Gate

  • Fully sheeted with SHS rails.
  • Use 270° neoprene hinge.
  • High, suiting the higher pressure pens and lanes.
  • Dual slam latched (suits lanes)
  • Specific LH or RH swing, sheeting being in the direction it hinges.
  • Used in conjunction with sheeted panels.

Race Gate

  • Available in both full and half sheeting configurations.
  • Lower height used primarily in races to allow more access to livestock.
  • Use 270° neoprene hinge
  • Dual slam latched (suits races)
  • Specific LH or RH swing, sheeting being in the direction it hinges.
  • Used in conjunction with race panels.