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Tombstone Cattle Farm
When Robert Spereslage, Greeley, Iowa, needed a new fence around his feedlot, he decided to put up something that would be useful in more ways than one. The tombstone fence he and his son came up with not only keeps cattle in but lets him drop hay along the outside of the fence so cattle can feed without leaving the lot, and without him having to haul bales into the lot.
The Spereslages first poured an 18-in. wide footing at the bottom of a shallow trench they dug and then built forms to pour the entire fence at one time. "Two steel rods run vertically up out of the footings to support each vertical section of the feeder-fence. When the upper sections were poured, a single rod was laid in horizontally to run across the top of each head opening. This horizontal rod only holds the sections together and is strong enough to keep the cattle from lifting their heads and damaging the fence above."
The concrete fence is 5 to 6 in. thick and 4 ft. high. Spereslage says the opening is the same size as the opening on a stanchion. "Cattle can reach out surprisingly far. We set big bales outside the fence and they clean up most of it," he notes. He adds that the ground outside the fence is heavily limed so it stays relatively hard and dry during wet times of the year, although some weeds do grow on it. He says the spot is a sunny area that stays relatively dry anyway. The feeding fence is used primarily during winter months.

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #1