Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Transportation educator, Allen Wiggins stresses, “Start at the front of the truck and go back."
If the tires aren’t what they should be, that can lead to breakdowns, and those are particularly dangerous in the heat. Make sure you have a spare tire and check that it is ready to use if need be.
It is critical to check the hitch on a bumper pull or gooseneck. Check it anywhere it attaches.
Make sure you don’t load too many cattle per trailer. Check the load-bearing capacity of tires and axles. Don’t exceed the lowest number, or you’re asking for a breakdown. For example, if your tires are rated for 12,000 pounds, and your axles are rated for 14,000 pounds, to be safe, don’t go over 12,000 pounds.
Make sure the lights are working on both the truck and the trailer.
Tragic stories of livestock falling through a trailer floor is sadly not uncommon. Whether metal or wood the flooring is regularly being exposed to water, urine and manure and over time will lose its integrity, so check it closely looking under any rubber mats and also the braces underneath. Braces can rust and come loose, especially with thousands of pounds standing on them.
It’s important to make sure the floor on a cattle trailer is nonslip. This could be textured rubber mats or even just wood strips or a steel cattle/hog panel nailed (in the corners) to the floor to minimize slipping.
Bedding in trailers has its pros and cons. Despite the added mess, they are recommended for long hauls and when calves are hauled. Bedding can help avoid toe abrasions that can lead to abscesses, which are very difficult to treat. Be sure to use fresh clean bedding not used by other cattle to prevent potential spread of disease.