Plan ahead: Determine the length of travel and prepare stock accordingly. Ideally, choose the nearest processor for cull cows.
Pregnant cows: Must not be transported if they are likely to give birth during the journey.
Travel time guide:
Last three months of pregnancy – less than four hours travel time.
Last month of pregnancy – less than two hours travel time.
Biosecurity: Develop a plan with your veterinarian to avoid spread of disease during transport, such as Theileria and BVD.
Healthy: Cattle must be fit, healthy and able to bear weight on all four legs. No open wounds, no signs of clinical mastitis, free from disease, and exhibiting normal behaviour. If in doubt, have examined by a veterinarian and get a vet certificate.
Body condition: Cows of condition score 2.5 to 3 may only be transported to remedial feed or directly to processor (not sale yards). Any cow with BCS less than 2.5 must have a vet certificate.
Horns: Horned cows should be transported separately. Cows with horns in firm contact with their skin should have them shortened seven days before transport.
Water: Clean fresh water must be available to all cows before and after transport and a water break is needed during journeys over ight hours.
Magnesium: Provide extra magnesium for four days before and after transport to reduce the risk of transport tetany to cattle, especially for late pregnant, thin or lactating cows or if the journey is expected to be longer than four hours.
Standing off: No green feed for four to 12 hours before transport. Provide dry feed, silage/ baleage, hay or straw, on a grazed-out paddock or stand-off pad*.
Loading: If possible help load stock to minimise stress.
Post arrival: Check stock health and if necessary manage the transition of diet to avoid rumen acidosis. Check for bloat two hours after arrival on-farm.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy March 2015