Ensure good welfare outcomes for your cows
Request cull cows be sent to a processing facility nearby. Minimising transport time and distance is better for the cow.
Supplement all cattle with 12-20g of magnesium each, on the day of transport. Lactating cows also need 100g of limeflour. Ideally, provide as an oral drench. Alternatively, provide a slurry with hay or dust pasture – double the amounts of calcium and magnesium if using a slurry, and triple if dusting pasture. If no roughage on hand it is possible to mix with dry feed/meal in troughs in the yard.
Ensure all stock have access to water prior to loading. Many farmers have plumbed in a basic water trough at the yards that can be filled whilst the yards are in use.
Always let your transport company know if you have any larger or taller cows or bulls in the load. They may require a different height truck to avoid back rub.
Only transport cows that are not likely to give birth during the journey or within 24hrs of arriving at the destination. If within 4 weeks of calving date, travel should be less than 2 hours.
Do your bit in the supply chain – stand stock off before transport
Keeping effluent off public roads is the responsibility of all people involved in transporting stock. Even though most stock trucks are fitted with collection tanks, these can overflow very quickly especially in wet weather.
- Stand stock off green feed for at least 4 hours (but for no more than 12 hours).
- A grazed out paddock or stand-off pad are better options because concrete surfaces can contribute to tender feet and aren’t good for lying.
- Continue feeding silage, hay or straw during stand off, especially for lactating cows or prior to long-distance journeys.
- If cows are not fully dried off, ensure cows are milked close to when they go and apply sufficient teat spray to fully cover all teats
- Help load stock – this will ensure they are loaded with minimum stress and maximum efficiency.
Are your stock fit for transport?
Contact your vet, transport operator or processing company if you are unsure whether an animal is fit for transport.
- No signs of ill health
- No visible wounds, bleeding, disease, deformity or infection
- No ingrown or recently removed horns
- Complies with all pharmaceutical withholding periods when going to processors
- Able to bear weight evenly on all four limbs
- The right Body Condition Score - BCS 3 or greater
- BCS 2.5 to 3 can go direct to slaughter, but not to saleyards, BCS below 2.5 cannot be transported unless a veterinary certificate is provided
Do not transport if you see the following signs
- Mastitis eg hot, swollen udders.
- Lethargic or staggering animals
- Anything hanging out e.g. retained fetal membranes, prolapses.
- Eye issues. Pink eye, discharges, and cancer eye. Cancer eye lesions must be confined to the eye, smaller than 2cm and not bleeding or discharging.
Transport of horned cattle
In most instances, horned cattle should be penned separately on the truck to prevent injury other animals.
Horns that are growing towards an animal's head and are touching the skin must be shortened at least 7 days before transport.
Remember, regulation requires all dehorning to be carried out with local anaesthetic.