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Be alert to danger when transporting cattle in cold weather

BQA Transport & National Cattleman’s Beef Association
Unprotected cattle hauled at highway speeds can be subject to dangerous wind chills. If cattle are wet, the danger is even greater.

Haulers, drivers, and farmers play a significant role in the overall well-being of cattle being delivered. Proper handling and transportation practices play an important role in the health of the animal.

There are risks every time cattle are hauled. Mitigating common risks can prevent many

accidents. Common risks include adverse weather, equipment failure, distracted and impaired driving, as well as driver fatigue.

When it comes to weather related issues and transportation, we regularly think of heat stress, avoiding hauling cattle during the hottest part of the day, or even extremely hot days. But what about winter transport?

Extreme wind and cold conditions can have drastic adverse effects on cattle health. Unprotected cattle hauled at highway speeds can be subject to dangerous wind chills. If cattle are wet, the danger is even greater.

Extreme cold and wind conditions exist when wind

chill is below 0ºF.

Extreme cold and wind conditions exist when wind chill is below 0ºF.

In the chart above, the shaded wind chills can be considered extreme and cold conditions. To mitigate risk to cattle, consider the following

suggestions:

  • Avoid transporting cattle in extreme wind and cold conditions.
  • If cattle must be transported in cold and windy conditions, avoid stopping if at all possible.
  • Deliver cattle to their destination as quickly as possible.
  • Supply ample bedding to provide insulation and to keep animals dry and warm.
  • Avoid overcrowding, as animals can not reposition themselves to avoid wind chills and frostbite.
  • Close nose vents.
  • Cover bottom ventilation slats in the trailer to protect cattle from the cold and wind chill, while allowing for adequate ventilation.