Preparing to transport livestock saves time, money and stress | Farm and ranch

Several important factors must be taken into account when transporting livestock.

TROY WALZ / Extension educator

By JESSE FULTON Extension Educator, Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Manager

As fall approaches, many producers are starting to plan to ship this year’s calf crop or move livestock from summer pastures to crop residues, fall / fall pastures. winter or to dry land. Every year millions of head of cattle are transported from point A to point B. Meanwhile, our bumper trailers, gooseneck trailers or cattle pots are giant billboards. for the beef industry.

For this reason, as cattle producers, we should make sure that we are doing our part to shed a positive light on the beef industry by following best management practices when transporting animals.

Important factors to consider when transporting livestock include loading conditions, transit time, weather conditions, mixing, segregation of different sexes and weight classes in separate trailer compartments, experience of the driver, health and physical condition of the animals.

Shipping can be one of the most stressful times in a calf’s life. More stress on livestock during shipping can increase the animal’s shrinkage percentage. Reducing shrinkage by 1% alone could benefit the industry of over $ 325 million. A previous beef quality assurance survey indicated that feedlots traveling to Texas or Nebraska feedlots averaged 468 miles, with a range of up to 415 miles.

In addition, the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit and the Market Cow and Bull Quality Audit found that the average load of fed cattle travels over 2.5 hours and over 135 miles of the feed yard to the harvesting facility, and that the cows and market bulls have traveled over nine hours and over 395 miles from their origin to the harvesting facility. These checks also revealed that the space provided to these animals during transport was often below animal handling recommendations for larger animals.

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