Cattle yard design should be used to increase the safety of your staff and livestock. Designs should also maximise workflow and ease the completion of tasks.

Maximising Safety Through Cattle Yard Design

Avoiding a serious accident is always a top priority on any farm. Despite this, Australian cattle yard design frequently fails to address a number of concerns effectively. Working with animals that can weigh over a tonne means you need to always pay attention to safety. You need to think about this for both workers and cattle. Having good foresight means you are prepared for the worst-case scenario, no matter how unlikely. A reliable design meets every need, making work easier and also maximising the safety of livestock and handlers.


Your choice of building material is critical to the structural integrity of your yard. It needs to remain strong throughout the wear and tear caused by the harsh Australian weather. Wood has always been a popular choice, due to its abundance and cost, but it is far less durable and reliable than steel. As a building material, wood is more appropriate for fence lines, which are usually much longer than cattle yards. With the advancements in steel manufacturing technology, it’s an easy choice for any new cattle yard.


Well-designed exits are paramount to the safe design of any yard or pen. If cattle become spooked or frightened, their movement can become erratic and unpredictable. A panicked animal of that size is a serious safety hazard. Bulls are renowned for aggression, sometimes without provocation. Clearly visible and functional exits provide a safe way out for workers, should the heard become panicked.


Before designing the cattle yard, you need to determine the workloads you’ll manage through it. There’s fewer things less safe on a farm than a cattle yard packed over capacity. That situation could easily lead to cattle stress. This would result in volatile movement and an increased risk of trampling. Smart design of a yard accounts for a maximum capacity of livestock. Smart farming and cattle management means not exceeding this limit.

Site Selection

The wrong location for your yard inevitably reduces the safety of workers and cattle. The site you choose should be well clear of any hazardous surroundings, including electrical lines and uneven ground. You should also take into account the flow of water if your farm is in a flood prone area. 

Choosing the Right Cattle Yard Design Components

You’ll need to ensure that the building elements of your yard are suitable for your purposes. Your key concern is the number of cattle you rear. Some of the equipment you might install include:

Curved races encourage easier movement of cattle, while also preventing them from turning around against the flow of traffic.

Rotary forces facilitate safe and controlled flow of cattle into a race or loading pen. Existing cattle yards can have rotary forces added to them.

Loading ramps are essential when moving your cattle for transport. Yard designs allow for permanent ramp installation; alternatively, mobile or portable options can be used in appropriate locations.


The importance of the cattle yard design process cannot be understated. Poor decision making and execution can easily result in an unsafe structure which is unfit for both cattle and handlers. Always remember safety is the number one priority. For more information on cattle yard designs, reach out to the team at Steel Supplies Charters Towers.