Mother Earth News Blogs > Homesteading and Livestock

Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Farm Gates: Weight Is More Important Than Gauge

farm gate and cabin 

Don’t do it. Don’t let the confusion around 16-gauge vs. 20-gauge vs. 14-gauge cause you to purchase the wrong gate. Todd Harne of Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment oversees Tarter’s Steel Production Facility and understands how to make sure that folks buy the gates and corrals they need to protect their animals and to run their farm and ranch smoothly.

“When it comes to buying the right gates, the first piece of advice about understanding gauge is simple. Don’t talk gauge,” explains Todd. “If you tell me you need a 16-gauge gate, it’s like telling me that you drive a car. Well, what kind of car do you drive? A Lincoln? A Lamborghini? Talking gauge is just sharing only one piece information, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.”

Contributing to the confusion surrounding gauges is that they can vary widely across the same industry. For example, a 16-gauge gate from one manufacturer may be .060 to .065 inch while for another it can be .055 to .060. Both are “true.” Doesn’t sound like a big difference? Wrong. That small fraction can equate to a difference of thousands of pounds of steel as well as thousands of dollars when enclosing a large perimeter.

“What you need to be concerned with is making sure you understand the weight of the different gates. By comparing the average weights of the gate, it will give you a clearer picture than if you try to compare the gauges of the gates. The bottom line is the heavier the average weight of the gate, the more durable it is,” says Harne. “But it’s important to remember you should spend your money wisely. You do no not need the heaviest gate possible in all the areas of your farm or ranch.”

Be smart when purchasing gates and corrals and invest wisely. At the same time, understand which areas of your property require heavier gates and which ones don’t. For example, most likely the back of the hay field won’t require the heaviest duty gate. Instead, go with a lighter gate there and install heavier weight gates and corrals for your higher traffic and containment areas. Typically a 2-inch diameter heavy-duty gate (for example 12-foot length by 62-inch height and 118 pounds) is best for high containment and high traffic areas while the lighter weight gates are great for the majority of your property.

“It only takes one cow to decide to jump a corral. If you have an economy corral in there, chances are you’re going to wish you didn’t. The lighter product can easily be crushed and next thing you know, chaos. The cows are going to run. There’s a reason for the expression ‘herd mentality.’ If the herd gets out, it’ll cost you time and money. You may need to work a whole extra day just to work the cattle back,” explains Harne. “On the other hand, the economy gates are practical and work great for the majority of your perimeter.”

Installing heavier gates and corrals in high traffic and containment areas will help prevent injury to the animals and the people working them. “The scary thing is, often when a cow decides to jump and a lighter panel is installed, the gate can tip over and crush people who may be outside of the facility,” recalls Harne. He recommends that hobby farmers create a strong containment facility that will allow them, as well as veterinarians, to provide the best care for their animals in a safe environment.

Why should you trust Todd Harne? That’s easy. He grew up on a large farm in Kentucky not far from where he runs the production facility at Tarter. He began overseeing the factory over a decade ago and his roots with the Tarter family can be traced all the way back to his elementary school days. Todd runs his own farm and owns 32 head of cattle as a cow-calf operator. If you’re ever in Dunnville, Ky., be sure to stop by the plant. He’ll gladly show you true Southern hospitality and answer all your farm and ranch questions.

For more information about Tarter Farm & Ranch and where to find Tarter products visit 

Photo: Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment 

3/30/2016 9:48:56 PM

I purchased a tarter post hole digger brand new for a category one tractor,I had to drill holes that day so I went to put it on my category one tractor and I had to beat the three point hitch arms onto the post hole digger with a mall not hammer,I knew this was wrong but did not think it would b such a big deal as it turned out to b,I was committed at that point and got them beat on both sides ,drilled my holes and a few days later decided to take it off for a different implement to take its place,I beat with a mall until I was worn out and whereas I own a auto body shop and mechanical garage I decided to take my tractor to my shop and jack it off with a ten ton jack I finally got one side off and ended up having to cut the other side off.i called tarter and told them what happened and how,they wanted pictures of my tractor and post hole digger ,my three point hitch arms I damaged on did I mention this was a new kubota 33 horse category one tractor and after many phone tag calls I end up with an answer that I must have the wrong category tractor for the post hole digger,I bought a category one digger for a category one tractor ,the pins were oversized which caused the problem and will cost me a lot to replace my new tractor arms and implement parts,not to mention the time I had put in this getting on and off,I know I should not have pounded this on but as u all know when u start and get committed there is no turning back,this is why I bought a new piece of equipment not a used one so if I did not know how to take this off and own a shop what would it have cost the average person at a dealer to have this problem taken care of then I get that for an answer,I am very,very,very disappointed in tarter and was planning on buying more implements for my tractor but it will not be from tarter and I would advise you not to either.i am going to post on every site I can find and I will have pictures of their product withit ,I hope you all share this on every site you know also thank you