Locks are things that people don’t often think about when they set up a dairy farm. After all, what difference does the type of lock really make? A dairy farm obviously needs the same locks as any other farm, home, or building, but there are also some unique requirements, like locks that can keep animals safe while milking. Let’s look at the types of locks we need on a dairy farm.
Eight types of locks can be helpful to have on a dairy farm. Some are for security, and others for practical uses. They are:
- Automatic gate locks
- Electronic door locks
- Computer locks
- Tractor wheel locks
- Tractor air brake locks
- Cattle headlocks
- Slam locks
Locks come in so many different shapes and sizes that it isn’t always possible to mention every lock you can find. You may go shopping with a particular lock in mind, then discover some new type of lock that works even better. So, let’s compare the different locks you may need for your dairy farm and the usage cases for each.
Why Do You Need Locks On Your Dairy Farm?
No farm or home should be without a lock (or, more likely, a few locks). We often don’t even think about the locks we use anymore; they’ve become a part of our daily lives. We only realize that we need a lock when something terrible happens, and then it’s too late, and 20/20 hindsight won’t save you.
So, in the case of a dairy farm, which areas do you need locks for?
The Farm Entrance Or Entrances
The farm gate is your first line of defense. Farms tend to be so huge that you won’t always know if someone is entering or if animals are getting out until it’s too late. A simple farm gate you can close is excellent at keeping the animals inside but won’t keep unauthorized people out. You must be able to lock all the entrances to your farm, and these locks should ideally be automatic.
The Farmhouse And Other Houses On The Farm
As part of protecting your property, you should also cover all the houses on the farm. If someone manages to gain entry to the farm, you should do everything you can to keep them out of your home and the homes of others living on the farm with you.
Sheds, Barns, And Other Buildings
Farms often store expensive equipment and tools in various buildings like sheds and barns. You might even have a dedicated tool or equipment store. All these buildings need locks, too, as it could cost a fortune to replace this equipment.
You may need locks that specifically relate to your cattle. For example, locks that keep them safe during feeding, milking, or even maternity can be helpful.
Sometimes you may have to lock a piece of equipment in a specific location. Some of these can be pretty expensive to replace. Notable examples include computers, generators, and even tractors.
The Types Of Locks For A Dairy Farm
Now, let’s review the types of locks you may need on your dairy farm.
1. Automatic Gate Locks
It’s easy to forget to close and lock a gate behind us. Even if we haven’t forgotten to lock the gates but left them unlocked on purpose, this is a security risk, and we may fail to lock them later.
The perfect solution to this problem is an automatic gate lock, and there are two kinds:
- Electric gate motors. Any motor you use to open or close your gate with a button will have a built-in locking mechanism. All you do is close the gate by pressing a button or setting an automatic-close timer.
When the motor detects that the gate is in the closed position, it will refuse to budge unless you press the button, enter the keycode, or manually release the motor’s lock from the inside.
- Dedicated automatic locks. These are locks you attach to your gates that automatically click into place when you close them. You don’t have to force the lock to close or turn a key to lock it. The gate will swing shut and lock automatically, and you must use a key or other method to unlock it.
Some of these are also smart locks, which you can unlock remotely using an app, though you have to ensure that the lock has some access to a network connection for this function to work.
Advantages Of Automatic Gate Locks
Automatic gate locks have a few advantages:
- You never have to think twice about locking your gate.
- You can set some of these locks to lock automatically at a specific time.
- Automatic locks usually cannot be picked. Because most of them don’t use typical keys and keyholes, burglars can’t use standard lockpicks to gain entry.
Disadvantages Of Automatic Gate Locks
There are also some negative aspects to keep in mind:
- Automatic gate locks can be expensive, not just to buy but also to install and maintain.
- Power failures can affect your locks. Most have battery backup, but those batteries don’t last forever, and eventually, you will find that you can’t lock or unlock it.
- People get so used to their automatic locks that they don’t always notice if something goes wrong. Automatic locks rely on technology to some degree, which means things will go wrong eventually.
Examples Of Automatic Gate Locks
An excellent example of an automatic gate lock kit is the Ghost Controls solar-powered automatic gate opener combo, especially when you combine it with the ZombieLock Automatic Gate Lock.
This combination will cost you over $1,000 just to buy and even more on installation, but it’s a good idea to have a lock solution like this for the safety of your dairy farm.
- Quiet and Fast Post Mount Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Gate Opener Kit for Swing-type Gates.
- Solar Powered Do-it-yourself Swing Gate Opener - Being off grid has never been easier with our solar gate openers. Solar will allow your gate to open even when you don't have power at your gate. For gates up to 20' wide or up to 900 pounds.
- Requires 12V battery (not included). Optimized for Tube Gates and is perfect for any swing gate up to 20 ft. including tubular, decorative, ornamental, chain link, or plantation gates.
- Includes two pivot brackets for the rear mount when installing a GHOST CONTROLS Gate Opener on a Push-To-Open application
- Bundle Includes Single Solar Heavy Duty Automatic Gate Opener TSS1XP, Standard Wireless Remote AXS1, and AXPO Push-to-Open Brackets
- Automatically locks and unlocks the gate when the Automatic Gate Opener is activated
- Patented design that allows the lock to provide feedback to Ghost Controls gate opener system controller which will prevent the gate operator from moving before it confirms that lock is in the unlocked position (this function only applies to Ghost Controls openers). Limited functionality with other brands of 12VDC automatic gate opener systems
- Powder-coated aluminum reduces the weight on the end of the gate and also is weather-resistant for all seasons of the year
- Can be easily mounted to tubular gates with the AXTB Tube Gate Bracket Kit (not included). Includes 2 mounting studs, 2 lock nuts, and 4 flat washers for installation.
- Includes 20' cable (3 conductor) to wire directly into gate opener controller for power and control
2. Electronic Door Locks
Doors that require keys to lock and unlock aren’t always secure enough. People can easily make a copy of a key or take an online course in lockpicking to get past the security. But dairy farms often have areas that must be secured, whether from potential intruders or from staff members who don’t need access to a particular site.
Electronic door locks are ideal for these situations. They eliminate the need for keys and keyholes, making them more secure, and they also make it easier to give people access if needed. You can provide passcodes to the staff who need to access the barn or milk processing equipment; then, there’s no need to leave doors unlocked all day.
Electronic locks have a few features. Not all are necessarily included by default, so check the model you’re planning to buy to ensure that you have the required features. Some include:
- You can program some of these locks to lock and unlock at certain times. This is obviously advantageous if you’re in a position where some of your workers often forget to lock a door at night.
- You can operate some of the locks remotely, so you don’t have to be present to lock or unlock the doors.
- You can install a keypad with a keycode that you can give to those who require access.
- If it makes sense for your scenario, you can even use biometric access features like fingerprint scanners.
- Some locks are smart or app-based. If they have a network connection, you can access the lock using an app or a smart home device to lock, unlock, and program it.
- Some electronic locks still use keys, which aren’t like regular ones. They send electronic data, like a keycode, to the lock, telling it to give you access.
Advantages Of Electronic Door Locks
- There are probably no physical keys, so nobody can “borrow” your keys to make copies, improving security. Even if there are physical keys, they use encrypted codes to unlock doors, so there’s nothing to copy.
- You may lock several doors using the same keycode or fingerprint. This means you no longer have to walk around with many keys to open everything. Instead, one keycode, fingerprint, or app will do it all.
- If someone loses a key, you simply deactivate that key and give them a new one. Physical keys that get lost don’t pose a security threat, and you don’t have to replace all the locks if it happens.
- It’s easy to grant and remove access rights. For example, if a new staff member arrives, you can simply give them access using the app or admin software. When they leave, you remove their key in the same way.
- Digital or electronic locks are exponentially more secure than standard mechanical locks. They have no keyholes, don’t show their mechanisms, and cannot be forced easily.
Disadvantages Of Electronic Door Locks
- Electronic door locks require electricity to work. They usually have batteries, but you either have to replace them often or keep them charged, which requires solar power or some kind of wired power connection running along your door.
- Some require a network connection. Especially in the case of smart locks, you may have to extend your WiFi to reach the doors of remote farm buildings. This is the only way for the locks to receive updates, synchronize with schedules, and get the instructions you give them over the app.
- These locks can be costly, especially smart locks, and depending on how advanced you want them to be, they may require installation by specialists.
- They aren’t perfect. Generally speaking, these locks are more secure than regular mechanical locks, but they aren’t foolproof. Human errors, like leaving your phone or keys lying around, could still cause significant security breaches.
Examples Of Electronic Locks
There are numerous brands and models of electronic locks. Some notable and affordable examples include:
When you research these examples, you can see that the prices increase as the locks’ capabilities increase. The Dermum Smart Door Lock gives you four locking options, which are ideal for failsafe methods and offers different kinds of access to different people.
3. Computer Locks
We all have computers somewhere, and even dairy farms need computers in different capacities. For example, control of equipment, programming of milking machines and cleaning robots, and even just basic bookkeeping all require a computer. More often than not, these are laptop computers since they take up less space, but this also means they are easier to steal.
To solve this problem, we need some kind of lock that can keep our computers safely tied to a particular spot.
The solution is a dedicated computer lock. These locks work by attaching something like a metal plate to the desk or bench where you want to place the computer, then inserting a locking mechanism from the plate into a slot on your computer.
Most of these locks are made for laptop computers only since most laptops have dedicated slots to insert the locks. But others also support desktop PCs and monitors, so you can find one that works best for you. The most common models have a combination lock system, but you can also find others that use regular keys.
There’s nothing high-tech about these computer locks; they are simple but functional. They aren’t perfect, either, since a bolt cutter can often cut through the cable attached to the locking plate, but they make it much more difficult to steal your computer.
Example Of A Computer Lock
The Amazon Basics T-Bar Combination Lock is an excellent example of what a computer lock should be. It works on laptop computers, desktop PCs, monitors, and even projectors, and it’s easy to install in almost any environment, including a dairy farm.
- T-Bar combination lock designed to keep a laptop, PC, monitor, projector, dock, or other device safe
- Includes a resettable 4-digit lock with up to 10,000 possible combinations and a T-Bar locking mechanism with high pull resistance
- Easy-to-position 360-degree rotating and pivoting cable made of black carbon steel with a phthalate-free PVC cover
- Fits laptops, PCs, and devices with a standard Kensington Security Slot (7x3mm). Please refer to the compatibility guide attached in the product guides and documents section.
- Note: Not all lock slots are the same size, if the device is not covered in the compatibility guide, please verify slots size is 7x3mm in advance.
4. Tractor Wheel Locks
Every farm needs at least one tractor, and there’s a good chance you have two or more on your dairy farm. But tractors are easy to steal since anyone can simply drive off with them.
The solution is a tractor wheel lock. These locks are similar to the devices the police use to lock a car in place. The wheel lock makes driving impossible unless you remove it first. Wheel locks are made of thick, strong metal that you can’t cut easily, so if you lose the key, you will have to use very powerful cutting equipment.
The challenge with wheel locks is that some tractors have huge wheels. The front wheels are often smaller, and it will work if you put a lock on them. But you will have to shop around to see if you can find wheel locks that are the right size for your tractor.
The largest wheel locks that are freely available are for tires that are 11.8” wide and 25.6” in diameter.
- Construction:Heavy duty stainless steel with bright color coating for weather resistance
- Safe:With edged rubber ring and inner rubber pad to prevent damage on wheels or rims
- Security: Resists cutting and sawing and stops the vehicle wheel from rotating
- Accommodates Tires Width:6 -11.8'',Accommodates Tires Dia.:25.6''. Suitable vehicle, boat trailers, caravan, trailers, SUV, etc
- Easy operation:gently push down the key hole for locking it up, and please make the top part of the key confront the corner when you unlock it
What can you do if your tractor’s wheels are bigger than that? That’s where the next lock comes in.
5. Tractor Air Brake Lock
Tractor air brake locks are effective locks that prevent your tractor’s air brakes from being released by blocking the air valve levers. This works exceptionally well in newer tractors, but you can fit them in older tractors with some slight modifications.
Most air brake locks will even work while the tractor is idling. So, let’s say your tractor is standing somewhere remote on your farm, and it’s idling because you’re powering a generator. You don’t want to stand there all day, but you don’t want your tractor to be stolen while it’s just standing there idling. An air brake lock would be the ideal solution in this scenario.
Examples Of Tractor Air Brake Locks
Most air brake locks are model-specific; they will only support specific models, so shopping around for the best one for your tractor is essential. However, some popular (and relatively universal) air brake locks are:
- Protects idling and parked tractors from theft by completely encasing the parking brake and trailer air valves.
- LOCK EXTERIOR: Die cast aluminum lock making it nearly impenetrable.
- LOCK TECHNOLOGY: Rotating Disk Cylinder Core; Nine-cylinder disk locking mechanism makes it nearly impossible for thieves to pick your lock.
- DIMENSIONS: 10 × 6.75 × 2.5 in, WEIGHT: 1.819 lbs
- Lost keys can be replaced, if registered with manufacturer. Number listed on key tag needed.
- Prevents Theft or Movement of Semi-Truck/Tractor
- Made in USA of Cast Aluminum
- Fits over trucks push pull valves in cab
6. Cattle Headlocks
Some dairy farmers don’t like using headlocks, but nobody can deny they are helpful. Despite how inhumane it may look and feel, a headlock allows your cows or goats to feed without competition.
No other animals will try to push them away to get to the feed, ensuring even food distribution and equal opportunity for every animal. Statistics show that competitive interaction at the feed bunks drops by 21 percent simply by installing headlocks.
Some farms also use headlocks for milking since they effectively keep your cows in one place. Especially if you use milking machines, headlocks can be helpful.
Many dairy farmers prefer to use a post-and-rail system over headlocks as they are both cheaper and easier to install. But headlocks can decrease labor, leading to reduced day-to-day expenses, especially on larger dairy farms.
7. Gates With Slam Locks
A slam lock is an often-overlooked type of lock that can be very useful. They were initially designed as a method to instantly secure your home if you see someone approaching from outside since you don’t have to fiddle with keys to lock the door. A security gate with a slam lock would lock when you shut it.
Installing gates with slam locks in strategic places can be very useful for the safety of you, your staff, and the cattle.
For example, let’s say something goes wrong in the barn. Your cattle get scared, and, for some reason, they’re running free. Having a gate with a slam lock will let you or your staff quickly contain the situation without harming yourselves or the cattle.
A big concern with a slam lock is that it’s effortless to lock yourself in or out. If your keys are on the other side of the gate when you close it, you will be stuck until you can get a locksmith or a spare set of keys. In that case, it’s helpful to have a slam lock with another unlocking function, like a fingerprint reader or a keypad.
Examples Of Slam Locks
There are numerous examples of slam locks, all with different features and uses. Some notable examples are:
- Segal SE Bronze Slam Lock. A simple, time-tested slam lock system. Not the most robust lock out there, but practical as a quick solution.
- ULTRALOQ Z-Wave Smart Lock. This slam lock is also a smart lock, including a keypad, fingerprint sensor, and app functionality that will let you unlock it regardless. As long as you have your fingerprint programmed, you remember the passcode, and you have the app on your phone, you will be able to unlock this one.
- Constructed of high strength bronze alloy, built tough to help secure entry doors against forced entry
- Components come in a beautiful, corrosion resistant, brass plated finish
- Designed with a time-tested, jimmy-proof mechanism that helps prohibit forced entry
- Features surface mounting installation with slam latch engagement and anti-lockout switch
- Easy to install with only a few simple tools
- Control Your Ultraloq Smart Lock Anytime, Anywhere: Lock, unlock, share access and see a Log of who’s entered and exactly when they did remotely using smartphone App with Z-Wave. Share code remotely to your family, guests or service people for permanent access, specific dates or periods of time. Requires compatible Z-Wave hubs or Ultraloq Bridge sold separately.
- 6-in-1 Keyless Entry Smart Lock: Touch and Go 360° Fingerprint ID + Anti-peep Keypad + Smartphone + Auto Unlock + Shake to Open + Mechanical Key.
- Works with Z-Wave Plus, Home Assistant, Compatible with Apple Watch. Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant. Requires Ultraloq Bridge or compatible Z-Wave hubs such as Samsung SmartThings, Hubitat and Ezlo (Vera) etc, sold separately.
- Smart Auto Lock and Auto Unlock: Smart Lock automatically locks if your door closes with door sensor and unlocks when you arrive at your door with your smartphone in your pocket.
- Certified Highest Security and Durability: Meets ANSI/BHMA A156.36-2020 Standard. Proven for up to 35 times strength of standard residential locks along with a 7 times longer lifespan.
We can talk about fancy, modern, high-tech locks all day long, but sometimes nothing beats a proven original, and a padlock should be one of the must-have locks for your dairy farm. In fact, not just one. Padlocks are so useful that it’s a good idea always to have a few on hand.
Padlocks can be helpful in a variety of situations, including:
- When another lock fails (as they do), you can temporarily secure the area with a padlock and chain.
- Secure tools and equipment if you have to leave them somewhere less safe.
- Keep your generator safe from theft by fastening it to a structure using a padlock and chain.
You can go months or years without needing a padlock, but one day you will encounter a situation where you simply can’t do without one. Stock your dairy farm up on a few different-sized padlocks and matching chains to ensure you’re ready when that day comes.
- ULTIMATE SECURITY: 304 stainless steel disc lock body and shackle with round Shielded design provide superior cut and pry resistance and minimizes shackle exposure. Black rubber bumper to protect valuables from scratching.
- PICK RESISTANT: Solid brass anti-pick tumbler with 5-pin cylinder for discus lock.
- ANTI-CORROSION AND ALL WEATHER: Heavy duty padlock stainless steel laser welded storage lock body with non-corrosive inner components and 4 drain holes for all weather conditions.
- INCLUDING: 3 keys per disc lock for storage unit with key retaining feature.
- 30 DAYS MONEY BACK & 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: All TUFF4EVER pad locks customers enjoy our 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and Lifetime Breakage Warranty; Return for a full refund if not satisfied for any reason; Just contact seller by clicking below on our name and then click the ‘ask a question’ button.
- Indoor padlock is best used as a school locker lock and gym lock, providing protection and security from theft.Note: Measure your door's backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit.
- Preset three-digit combination lock for keyless convenience
- Combo lock is constructed with a metal body, anodized aluminum cover, hardened steel shackle, and anti-shim locking mechanism for strength and security
- 1-7/8 in. (48 mm) wide lock body; 9/32 in. (7 mm) diameter shackle with 3/4 in. (19 mm) length, 13/16 in. (21 mm) width. Not Keyed, Retail Carded Packaging
- Available in blue, red, and purple (color randomly selected at time of shipment)
- Kwikset SmartKey padlock, long shackle, 2 in clearance
- 2 inch body (50mm) 2 inch long shackle use the same Kwikset key to unlock your home
- This is manufactured in Taiwan
- Works with your Kwikset house key
- Easily re-key your padlock to work with the key from any SmartKey lock
- Indoor and outdoor padlock is best used as a school locker lock, gym lock, and gate lock, providing protection and security from theft.Note: Measure your door's backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit.
- Set your own four-digit combination lock for easy combination recall; Combination change tool included
- Combo lock is constructed with a solid body for strength and weatherability, hardened steel shackle for cut resistance
- 2 inch (51 millimeter) wide lock body; 5/16 inch (8 millimeter) diameter shackle with 1 inch (25 millimeter) length, 1 inch (25 millimeter) width
- Shackle is preset to open on 0-0-0-0. Some instructions may incorrectly state shackle opens on l-o-c-k. See user manual in technical specifications section of this page for correct combination reset instructions.
- 4 Digit Combinations Safer: The 4-digit combination lock gives you peace of mind while you are away or at work. The lock, which is made of premium zinc alloy and steel, will be difficult to break in. The fact that it has 10,000 unique combinations makes it ten times longer to decode than 3-digit locks.
- Sturdy and Durable: This locker lock is made of high-quality and long-lasting materials. It's built to withstand the wear and tear of daily use and is resistant to rust and corrosion. Its weatherproof feature makes it ideal as a combination lock for outdoor use.
- Side Window Design: Comes in a side window design that makes it easy to set the combination. Unlike other locks that you need to use your two hands to enter the code, this one is different: you can enter the code with one hand only. Maneuvering and resetting your code is so simple and straightforward.
- Wide Application: This storage lock is versatile and can be used on a wide range of lockers, including gym lockers, sports lockers, and school lockers. It's also great for use on gates, sheds, and fences.
- Conveniently Portable: Its compact size and lightweight design make this combination padlock convenient to carry with you wherever you go. This small lock provides enhanced security.
Dairy farms heavily rely on various types of locks to ensure the safety and security of their equipment, animals, and property. Headlocks help manage the animals efficiently and reduce labor costs, while wheel locks, computer locks, and padlocks protect tractors and other valuable equipment.
Additionally, automatic gate locks, electronic door locks, and slam locks play a crucial role in ensuring the overall safety and security of the dairy farm. However, even with these locks, dairy farms are still vulnerable to theft, trespassing, and other security breaches.
Installing surveillance cameras can provide additional protection and enhance the overall security measures of the dairy farm. Check out our related post on the importance of having surveillance cameras on a dairy farm to learn more about this topic and how it can benefit your farm.