Cattle transport truck leaving a farm on a gravel road

Key Considerations for Transporting Cattle

In a society increasingly concerned with ensuring humane treatment of animals, the need for the highest standards of safety and treatment of livestock is becoming clearer. Specifically, transporting cattle is a frequently problematic area which receives a considerable amount of attention – this is due to the potential to easily compromise the overall wellbeing of animals if transported incorrectly. There are a range of practices which should be implemented to ensure the safety and ethical transportation of livestock.

Transporting Cattle in Separate Classes

It’s critical that cattle are grouped in specific classes and penned separately when being transported. This is done to mitigate the risk of injury to smaller animals from being trampled by larger ones.

The recommended classes for livestock to be separated into consist of:

  • Polled and dehorned cattle
  • Adult bulls
  • Cattle differing greatly in size
  • Females in the late stages of pregnancy
  • Young claves
  • Cows with suckling calves

As a general rule of thumb, the calmness of the cattle depends on how calmly they’re loaded and unloaded.

It is also important to ensure that the transport vehicle is in good condition, as this will allow the cattle to arrive at the destination quickly and safely. Utilising a well-designed stock crate will assist with minimising bruising during travel. If using your own transport, make sure that the size and design of the transport vehicle is suitable for the number of livestock being transported. If the vehicle is unclean or not well maintained, then this may increase the potential for stress, injury and contamination.

Transport Cattle to a New Pasture

If moving livestock to a new pasture or feedlot, make sure that the animals are provided with hay for the first two days of being on the new pastures, as this will allow their rumen (stomach) to gradually adjust to the pasture feed. All equipment for loading and unloading (including loading ramp, lane drafters and slide gates) should meet industry standards and be supplied by a trusted manufacturer. Using unsuitable equipment has the potential to injure both the livestock and the livestock handler.

The relevant livestock transportation compliances are outlined in the ‘Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock’. Ensure that all compliances are met prior to the transporting of livestock.

Relocatable Cattle Yards

Transportable or relocatable cattle yards may be especially useful for farmers who need to move cattle around their own property. Simple relocatable yards may be comprised just of panels and gates. Steel panels can provide the flexibility to create different configurations, allowing for either a permanent or temporary cattle yard set up.

Requirements of Transport Equipment

The condition of the transport equipment plays a significant role in ensuring the safety of cattle. Some of the key considerations regarding the transport equipment are that:

  • The size and design of the transport must be suitable for the quantity of stock being transported.
  • The stock crate must be well designed with large smooth contact surfaces to prevent bruising on cattle.
  • The vehicle should be of high quality and in operational condition to ensure cattle arrive to their destination without injury.
  • The cattle pens are a minimum of 3 metres in length, but no longer than 4 metres. This provides cattle with support during the journey and reduces the levels of stress experienced.


The safe transportation of livestock is essential to ensure the overall wellbeing of the animals. By considering and implementing the previously mentioned considerations, it will enable for the humane and ethical transportation of livestock in a way that will mitigate the chances of injury from occurring. For any queries or additional information on transporting cattle, do not hesitate to contact the Steel Supplies Charters Towers team.