I, like many farmers, prefer spending my time on the farm, rather than off it. In general, my life as a farmer is a satisfying and enjoyable one, and even the British weather can do little to change that. Yet when I leave the farm with animals in tow, I find it difficult to maintain such a positive outlook. Or, at least, I used to.
Ask any farmer; the transportation of livestock is one of the most time-consuming of all farming practices, yet it is a process that is fundamentally important. Recent EU regulations, as well as newly-instated animal welfare guidelines have highlighted the importance of animal safety during transportation, and the only way to achieve this is to invest in a durable and reliable livestock trailer.
Of course, it is not a case of one size fits all (it rarely is), and the size of the trailer will depend on the animals being transported in it. Cattle trailers are bigger, with generous dimensions that can accommodate these larger animals. They are generally tougher in terms of wheel suspension and durability, and can be fitted with various loading ramps and cattle gates that assist greatly.
Effective transportation lies in the details, and with regards to pig trailers, it is important to find one with a slurry tank. Many trailer manufacturers will offer this as an optional extra and I have found mine extremely valuable with regards to hygiene management. A hinged lid and a cleaning valve make cleaning these tanks easy and the aluminium material is hard-wearing and sturdy.
For those looking at sheep trailers, an option worth considering is to invest in a folding deck system such as the ‘Euro Deck’ offered by Hudson. The easily-converted deck allows for one trailer to have a dual role, carrying either sheep or cattle. It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone, and with folding gates for convenient storage and a flexible tow bar extension, it is also extremely easy to use.
It’s important to remember that with regards to animal transportation, safety should always come first. Do not be tempted to purchase (or, in some cases, build) cheap trailers that could compromise security and contravene EU regulations, you can find many cheaper second-hand trailers online that are both safe and comply with current regulations. By putting the safety of your animals first, you can turn the arduous task of livestock transportation into an easy and simple one.