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Ground-Load Livestock Trailer
Davies Farms, Dawn, Mo., built their own 40-ft. livestock trailer that lets cattle load from the ground with no need for a loading chute.
  "It lets us haul 26 full-grown cattle at a time and we spent only about $2,600 to build it. Commercial trailers of comparable capacity sell for $20,000 or more," says Don Davies, noting that he likes the design they came up with better than the trailers they saw on the market.
  They started with a tandem axle 40-ft. trailer that had been used to haul ocean-going containers. They cut through the middle of the chassis and removed an 8-ft. section from the middle, then added a new 8-ft. section on back. The back section contains a ground-load ramp that gets cattle from the ground up to the three compartments. The ramp is raised with the help of a pair of garage door springs. To raise the ramp, the operator pulls on a cable, which lifts the front edge of the ramp up until it catches on a steel stand. The stands fold against the front of the compartment when the ramp is lowered.
  They bought sheet metal with holes punched into it at a junk yard and used it to build the sides. Solid sheet metal was used for the top and front. A homemade tailgate swings out to the side.
  "The ground-load ramp eliminates the need for an extra set of ramps to go from the lower compartment to the upper compartment. The back of the trailer is low enough to the ground so cattle can step right in. Even small calves will step up into the trailer and go up the ramp," says Davies. "The top end of the ramp is within 5 in. of the upper deck floor. We load the front compartments first, then drop the ramp and load the back compartment.
  "We built it in one month during the calving season. We paid $400 for the chassis. We had been using a 6-ft. wide, 20-ft. long livestock trailer that could hold only 10 cattle at a time. It took a long time to move 100 cows.
  "We use a 1982 GMC tractor equipped with a 3208 Caterpillar engine and an Allison automatic transmission to pull it. It's a single axle tractor with a short wheelbase so we can turn short. Because there's an 8-ft. overhang on back, we can turn as short as a 30-ft. gooseneck trailer pulled by a pickup."
  For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Donald Davies, Rt. 1, Box 194, Dawn, Mo. 84638 (ph 660 745-3350; fax 3360).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #4