Thursday, 05 March 2020 12:57

A smooth ride for calves

Written by  Mark Daniel
The Benic calf trailer. The Benic calf trailer.

A new calf trailer, from Mid Canterbury manufacturer Plucks, claims to improve calf welfare during transport, particularly with regards to injury and risk of infection.

Designed by Tasmanian dairy farmers with veterinary input and licensed for New Zealand manufacture, the Benic Calf Trailer is available in 10 or 15 calf capacities. The design takes the form of a sling and cradle system that works with an overhead track, all mounted on a low-level single axle trailer.

During collection, calves are fitted quickly with a webbing sling, that is lifted onto a roller track that allows the animal to be easily moved forward. Once on the trailer, calves are supported between a tubular steel cradle and a neck brace. 

Compared to open cage type trailers, where calves can easily fall over and injure themselves, while trying to stand on unsteady legs, the specialised trailer holds animals securely in an upright position, where they ae kept clean and comfortable. Additionally, the format reduces the transmission of infection from the navel area, while also helping to reduce wind-chill by way of a substantial front headboard.

With a total mass of 525 and 700kgs respectively, the BCT 10 and BCT 15 units are easily towed by a suitable ATV or side by side vehicle, while the low loading height makes for easy, one-person operation, even for those who are vertically challenged. 

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