When you’re loading the trailer full of cows or calves, do you ever think about how it could impact the quality of the end product, beef? Overloading a trailer can cause internal and external injuries, the most common being muscle bruising. The Beef Quality Assurance Program passes out friendly reminders for proper trailer protocol when moving livestock, and I was given a bumper sticker recently that serves as an excellent guide for knowing how many animals belong in the trailer. This is a photo of my sisters and I outside of our stock trailer minutes before we headed down the road with a load of cattle. I know it’s more convenient to load the trailer plumb full, but BQA reminds us that best animal handling practices ensure a quality end product and a more pleasant ride for the animal.
The recommended maximum number of cattle for trailers of different lengths in relation to the weight of the cattle is recorded. For example, for a trailer size of 16ft x 16ft, 12 600 lb. calves can fit into the trailer or five 1400 lb. cows could fit into the trailer. If you own a 24ft x 6ft trailer, 18 600 lb. calves could fit easily into the trailer or 7 1400 lb. females could be hauled. In general, these examples represent the maximum number of polled/dehorned cattle for trailers of different lengths; when hauling horned/tipped cattle reduce the number of cattle by 5%.
In addition, BQA states that the number of cattle loaded during hot conditions should be reduced. Of course, do not exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for your truck and stock trailer. For more information on the Beef Quality Assurance Program, head to their website today.