Thompson Longhorn

Permanent Cattle & Livestock Stockyard Loading Ramps

Introduction

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.

Permanent Cattle Double Deck 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.

Loading methods

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.
The single deck is the most common as even double deck trailers can still be loaded and unloaded from these.
For larger operations were a large amount of loading and unloading is done a double deck ramp is considered. These reduce loading and unloading time by not having to use the internal ramp of a double deck trailer. Also by alternating groups of cattle between the top and bottom decks both they can be both loaded simultaneously.
Typically a loading ramp is narrow like a race so cattle will load in single file and prevent turning back. However this isn’t the case when unloading and a dump ramp can be used which is much wider. The dump helps reduce unloading time and is normally constructed alongside a narrower loading ramp sharing a common fence.

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.

Slide 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.

Summary:

  • Main purpose is for loading and unloading trucks.
  • Commonly ramps but a step in ground level is a loading dock.
  • Can be used to either rear load or side load trailers.
  • There are single, double and dump type ramps.
  • Commercial ramps are fully sheeted with catwalks.
  • Catwalks have handrails for OH&S and Australian Standards.
  • Consider access for truck drivers.
  • Lockable slide gates to prevent illegal/ unauthorized cattle removal or quarantine measures.
  • Buffered front or spring loaded pivotal front for rear loading trucks.
  • Use concrete stepped floors for better grip and corrosion or rot properties.

Features:

  • Heavy duty frame construction.
  • Hot dipped galvanized feet, good for highly corrosive environments.
  • Adjustable feet can take variations in slab height. Units need to be plumb for optimal operation of all gates.
  • Feet bolted to concrete allowing for removal and locating during installation (after concrete slab is poured).

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