A loading ramp is a unit that is used for the loading and unloading of cattle from trucks. It is an important item as nearly every cattle handling stockyard has one and sale yards have many. Typically the loading ramp is used to elevate cattle to the height of the trailer. Stockyard design can start from the available loading ramp positions due to truck access and type of trucks intended to be used. When starting to construct a stockyard, the mark out datum locations and rotation can be driven by the loading ramp.
Cattle Stockyards Double Deck Loading & Catwalk
Ramp or Dock
A loading dock has the appropriate step in ground level so the trailer is the right height with the yard’s ground level. A dock is only used if the land terrain suits. The site needs to have a natural step of slope so the dock can be back filled. A dock also reduces the need for catwalks when loading only single decks. However most loading and unloading is done using a ramp.
A loading ramp can be used two ways to either back load or side load a trailer. Commonly larger trailers have either function others always have rear loading. For rear loading adequate distance in front of the ramp is required for the truck to turn and back. For side loading it is important that the truck path clears any fences, is straight when it reaches the ramp and any turning radius are not too sharp.
Cattle Loading Ramp Styles
There are several styles of ramp. These are single deck, double deck, and a dump.
Cattle Loading Ramp Sheeting & Catwalk
The large commercial loading ramps are fully sheeted to improve cattle flow, the sheeting preventing baulking from visual distractions. Catwalk is added alongside the ramp to elevate the operator to the right height if coaxing is required. For a single loading ramp a catwalk both sides is an option. Access for the truck driver’s side also needs to be considered for opening and closing both rear and baffle trailer gates.
Other design considerations are sliding/stop gates and front type. Slide gates can be either located at the top or bottom of the ramp. For a double ramp they are best located at the top. For a dump ramp a gate is used at the bottom as it is too wide for a slide gate. Lockable gates needs to be considered to prevent illegal or unauthorized stock removals or quarantine measures. Fronts on ramp which are used with rear loading trailers need to consider some buffering. For fixed fronts timber or docking rubber is used, however a spring loaded, pivotal front is another alternative.
Cattle Loading Ramp Floor
At Thompson Longhorn single and double loading ramps use concrete steps to ramp. This offers better anti-slipping as they are grooved and overcome corrosion or rot problems compared to other timber or steel floored ramps. However, for the wider dump ramp the best floor is a concrete base poured on site prior to construction of the rest of the ramp. This would include the personnel access path on the outside.
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