Hauling innovations to Make Your Next Trip a Safer One
Published on Tue, 08/24/2021 - 11:49am
Hauling innovations to Make Your Next Trip a Safer One.
By Jaclyn Krymowski.
Ranch vehicles and equipment have come a very long way in terms of technology, practicality and innovation. The same could be said about cattle hauling and trailering.
Anyone in the cattle business can expect at one point or another, they may need to be the one to load and trailer their animals either short or long distances.
While the skillset to do this is simple enough to learn, there is no shortage of things that can go wrong to harm either people or cattle for even the most experienced driver. Even when moving cattle on private property, safety and proper procedures should always be made a top priority.
Fortunately, the technological times we live in have brought with them some new gadgets and devices that can make the business of moving animals significantly safer.
Take Advantage of the Technology
New automotive-related technology affords lots of new ways to assist haulers; more than what you might realize. While it should be noted no tool is a reason to slack on overall safe practices, they can be used to reduce risks.
Video cameras for security and monitoring purposes have become increasingly more affordable in recent years. Many systems now come ready to be connected with cell phones and other mobile devices for remote viewing. With so many being durable and small, some are ideal for inexpensive mounting inside a trailer for a bird’s eye view of your animals at any time on the journey. This adds an extra layer of security, especially useful when moving high-value animals over long distances.
This technology needs no introductions as cell phones have brought GPS navigation to virtually everyone. Beyond the obvious, this technology can also have some added benefits for those hauling livestock. Thanks to fleet tracking, GPS devices can be monitored from a remote location to track progress and view where a particular vehicle is in real-time. For operations shipping out numerous animals at the same time throughout the year, keeping in contact with your haulers and tracking their progress on the road can provide additional peace of mind.
These devices have become so commonplace many new vehicles already come pre-installed with them. Tire monitors have become increasingly affordable and available for purchase at a variety of locations. With simple installation and setup, monitors can alert the driver for slow leaks or entire blowouts, avoiding excess damages as well as providing safety. Tire monitors also offer the convenience of alerting the driver when it may be time to reinflate.
Many new goosenecks now come with rubber torsion suspension as a standard. Not only does this make for a smoother hauling experience, it also saves wear and tear on the hitch and makes travel much more consistent and easier for animals. To add another level of security, the AirSafe gooseneck coupler was created. This device and can also enhance the hauling of older trailers that maybe don’t have the rubber torsion suspension.
The fact of the matter is that today’s drivers are more distracted than ever, despite laws against cell phone use while driving. This has made many haulers leery of being rear-ended on the highway at an unexpected time. To help reduce this, VTRCORP has introduced the Tow ALERT – a device that emits an ultra-high intensity strobe light to warn fellow motorists behind a trailer of deceleration. This system has a built-in motion sensor that is independent of the braking system. According to the VTRCORP company website, providing an extra 0.5-second warning when slowing can prevent 60% of rear-end collisions with 1.5 seconds preventing 90% of them.
Put it into practice
Besides the technological aspect, years of research and study have also provided the industry with more information on the best ways to move cattle. Not only have low-stress methods helped make an overall safer and more enjoyable environment, they’ve also reduced issues such as costly bruises.
But these techniques are only as helpful so far as they are implemented. In some cases, it may be necessary to invest in updates to handling facilities, loading docks and ramps.
One finding of recent note is in the trailer design. A study conducted at a processing plant found that a very high number of cattle coming off trailers had bruising across their toplines, especially their loins. The place where much of this was occurring was the ramp from the above deck that cattle would hit as they jumped off. With a simple modification that raised the deck by a few inches, the number of incurred bruises went down significantly.
Similarly, something as simple as how a ramp or divider locks in place or folds can have an impact on how many animals are bruised or scraped. Keep on the lookout for these “problem areas” or specific issues that keep recurring. In some cases, it may only involve a simple tack weld or new part.
Trailer design – semis, goosenecks and bumper pulls – changes over the years. Even if your equipment suffices, it isn’t a bad practice to stay updated on what is available in your area. Upgrades can be expensive, but as the outdated yet true saying does – you can’t put a price on safety.