Editor's Note: This Tip of the Week has been brought to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA).
The transportation of cattle to and from farms and marketing facilities is an important part of dairy and beef production, and plays a critical role in the health and welfare of cattle. The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has worked with the experts in livestock handling and cattle transportation to develop guidelines and training tools for transporting cattle in a safe, humane way.
Through the Master Cattle Transporter program, the BQA program has developed a special training series focused strictly on transporting cattle using stock trailers or semi-trailers. When a transporter participates in the program, they are showing consumers they are ready to take every step possible to keep cattle as healthy and safe as possible.
The program covers many topics, including:
- Cattle handling guidelines & diagrams
- Checklists for loading/unloading
- Checklists for hot/cold weather factors
- Checklists for fit/injured/weak cattle
- Checklist for traveling
- Loading suggestions and worksheets
- Biosecurity & Emergency Action Plans
For those moving cattle with stock trailers, there is a specially designed training video which provides tips and techniques for proper loading and unloading of animals; trailer maintenance; weather factors to consider; and animal handling tips.
Guidelines about cattle transportation may be found in the Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) manual and provide direction on biosecurity practices, equipment condition, transit precautions, animal evaluation, handling procedures and driver attitudes.
Transporting animals properly to their final destination is critical to ensuring that the cattle arrive free of injury, bruises and stress - all factors which can affect the animal health and quality and, ultimately, the bottom line.