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Monday, December 16, 2013

Feeding Supplements to Cattle - Part 1 Delivery Vehicle

One of the ways of feeding out supplements to cattle is to have a small trailer which can be easily pulled from paddock to paddock in which supplements are kept for cattle to access at will. At the farm across the river where we work this trailer has evolved over many years and multiple owners and with the aid of a local Mr Fix-it.

The original trailer now long gone was a standard box trailer with a roof added to keep out rain. I forgot to mention the delivery mechanism is coarse salt so you can imagine the effects on the metal structure. It did last some years and many repairs but finally the corrosion was so severe it was scrapped. The second trailer was a little smaller for ease of movement with a stainless steel insert to inhibit the effects of salt. Easily said but difficult to do as the axle corroded to the point it collapsed.

Version three implemented some new features. Any items we felt could not be made corrosion proof such as wheels and axles became sacrificial components. The the stainless steel tray and roof were recycled. The body was welded from heavy duty Aluminium and the wheel assemblies including the axles were designed to be easily cut off without major work.

The Weather is excluded from the interior with heavy gauge vinyl curtains weighted with small pieces of timber. The cattle don't seem phased by this barrier and easily poke their heads through to access the contents. Even young calves are happy with the arrangement.

The interior uses standard sized 20 litre drums cut in half to store the salt and supplement mix. Being heavy plastic they last forever.

The only future change would be to scrap the stainless steel tray. Even it has started to corrode whereas the aluminium is impervious.

In the next issue we'll cover the supplements we use and why.
Rear view: Notice the gap at the bottom to enable easy flushing of the tray and also the moisture barrier under the iron roof. Without the insulation under the roof water droplets will form on the underside of the iron roof and drip into the trailer.

The jockey wheel is key for easy attachment and movement. The standard fitting is just cut off for replacement

A simple arrangement of chain and metal loop drops over the tow ball of the RTV
The vinyl curtains are extremely robust

Eight drum halves contain the salt and supplement mix. Some people keep each supplement separate in each container to allow cattle to self select.

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