Lane Drafters

Lane Draft.jpg
5 Way Draft.png
Lane Draft.jpg
5 Way Draft.png

Lane Drafters


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Cattle separation into different pens

  • Manual or pneumatic operation
  • Various drafting configurations
  • Efficient, safe and stress-free drafting
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A lane draft unit is a product which aids the selection of cattle. Selection can be based on weight, colour, owner, age, veterinary factors etc. Cattle feel safe in a herd environment and separating one from the herd can at times cause an unpredictable reaction. Because of this natural instinct to stay together, there have been many cattle handlers injured trying to perform the drafting process. Sometimes, when a single or small selection is required, people try and do the drafting on foot, exposing themselves to a high risk of injury. Other times when a selection is made in the field or remote area, it can be done on horseback, but this requires very skilled horse riders. In both these processes the livestock can come under a lot of stress or trauma when being removed from the herd. The best and safest practice is to relocate the cattle to a set of yards and use a drafting unit.

Lane Draft Operation

The lane draft is primarily used to separate a selection of cattle in a way that is not stressful or traumatic to livestock and is safe for the handler. This can be achieved by the handler choosing a position from which to make an assessment that is far enough away from the cattle so as not to baulk or stress them. Selection decisions can be made by assessing livestock individually or prior to processing on a computer or load cell controller. Draft units are commonly located in front of crushes or races with holding bay. A crush is commonly used for weighing and other individual selection decisions, whereas if animals are pre selected then they can be fed directly to the draft using a race. Drafting efficiency and safety is now required by a number of industries ranging from feedlots, cattle stations, sale yards, dairies and many more.

Lane Draft Design

All lane draft units are pneumatically operated, but if manual operation is desired, this is achieved by using standard stockyard gates. However this system is limited to only a 2 or 3 way selection. The pneumatic drafts are controlled by either hand held remote transmitters, lever control table or automatically. Automatic drafting decisions can be based on pre determined weight ranges or livestock identification using RFID. Drafting units can also be designed so that all exits are on one nominated side of the draft. This configuration suits working areas which are restricted to a long rectangular foot print. Almost any number of drafting decisions or drafting configurations can be obtained by combining several units together. An advantage of the lane draft is that it can process animals at a faster rate than a pound (circular) draft.

Lane Draft Configurations

At Thompson Longhorn we construct three different styles of lane drafting units: standard, feedlot & hybrid.
The standard lane draft is a compact unit. It suits applications where limited space is available and is commonly used when retro fitting or upgrading an existing set of yards.
The feedlot lane draft is typically designed for a feedlot application. This unit is wider as well as longer than a standard lane draft.
The hybrid lane draft is a combination of the above two, having the longer gates of a feedlot lane draft but the same width as a standard lane draft.
This style offers a more comfortable exit angle than a standard lane draft and is the most common style used.


  • Low stress, little or no trauma to livestock and safer for the handler
  • Commonly located after crushes
  • Pneumatically controlled
  • Suits automation combined with weight or identification decisions
  • Fast draft decisions allow processing of a large number of animals
  • Available in a number of configurations and styles
  • Suits feedlots, stations, sale yards, dairy‚Äôs etc.

Lane Draft Features:

Heavy duty frame construction
Hot dipped galvanized feet, good for highly corrosive environments
Adjustable feet can take variations in slab height. Units need to be plumb for optimal operation of all gates
Feet bolted to concrete allowing for locating during installation (after concrete slab is poured)
Sheeted gates are used in the feedlot and hybrid drafts
Rubber buffers are used to reduce noise caused by driven gates
Controlled by remote control, table with levers or automatically (Computer or load cell controller)