From 1 August 2017, calves being transported for sale or slaughter must be able to walk safely onto and off the truck. This will require many farmers to make alterations to existing loading facilities.
Talk to your transporter before you make changes
Talking to your transporter before you make changes will help ensure facilities are fit-for-purpose.
Road Transport Association New Zealand upper North Island area executive Keith McGuire says building a new structure is a long-term investment so it’s important to get it right from the beginning. He says whenever calves leave the farm on a truck, working with your transporter to make their job as easy as possible creates a better outcome for both animals and people.
“Transporters can provide a different perspective about what works well and what’s practical for the truck and for loading. Some farmers have built ramps or structures and realised there were things they could have done differently to make it more practical. Talk to your transporter and make a plan before you start,” says Keith.
Allan Kempthorne of Waikato firm Kempthorne Transport says the most important thing for farmers to be aware of is making sure the truck has easy access for loading.
“When calves can walk on easily the driver can see if they are in good condition or if they have any abnormalities.
“Farmers often ask our advice before building and sometimes they’re able to make adjustments using existing materials. The ramps might not look flash, but they work perfectly. I’d say that 15-20 percent of our customers already have good raised loading facilities,”
New loading facilities make life easier
Two years ago, central Southland sharemilkers Blake and Sara Korteweg built a new loading ramp and took the opportunity to make it calf friendly. Blake says at the time they didn’t know the new regulations were coming in but the set up has worked a treat and made life easier for everyone.
“The transporters are grateful because it’s under cover. We have four pens and the bobby pen is raised, so it's fool proof. The truck driver walks through a footbath, climbs the ladder and opens the doors to let the calves walk into the truck.
“This season we trialled the new DairyNZ bobby calf collection sign. We used it every day to tick off the checklist and display how many calves were out for collection. The good thing about it is that we don’t have to be at the loading ramp when the calves are collected. If any calves are not picked up, the driver can write the reason on the whiteboard. It’s been very useful.”
DairyNZ is supporting farmers through the changes by working with others in the supply chain and providing training and resources on suitable loading facilities and fit for transport requirements. says Allan.
Guidelines for calf holding and loading facilities meeting the new regulations are available at dairynz.co.nz/loading-facilities.
New regulations for calves
- From February 1, 2017 – Calves must be fed at least once in the 24 hours before slaughter.
- From August 1, 2017 – Calves must have access to shelter that is clean, dry, suitably ventilated and which provides protection from adverse weather, including extremes of heat and cold. This applies before and during transportation and at points of sale or slaughter.
- From August 1, 2017 – Calves must be able to safely walk themselves on and off transportation using loading and unloading facilities when being transported for sale or slaughter.
Guidelines for calf holding and loading facilities
Off the roadside
- Roadside collection is hazardous to truck drivers, staff and other road users.
Accessible for the truck and trailer to reverse up to
- Access should be free draining and constructed with
a level hard-standing surface.
- Track should be no less than 4m wide.
- Height clearance of 4.3m for any overhead obstructions e.g. trees, water lines and electric fence wires; and 6m for powerlines. Loading calves directly under powerlines should be avoided.
- Locate the loading facility at or near the bobby calf rearing pen and allow sufficient turnaround (25m) for a truck and trailer unit.
- Consider other traffic flow – if you are positioning or accessing the holding facility via the tanker track, design loading so that both trucks can pass or at least travel in the same direction.
- Maintain clear access, avoid holding stock in the access way or having gates across the roadway that require opening and shutting.
- Ensure that all bridges/culverts are safe, fit for purpose and that truck weight loadings are within the structure’s design loading specifications.
- Secure dogs and use a sign on the gateway to alert drivers if there is the possibility of children being in the area.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy October 2016