First let’s just look at where we live-northern Montana! If you are a member of Marias River Livestock Association and live in Toole, Glacier, Pondera or Liberty county, you are pretty much 100s of miles from any big US feedlots. Google map a few close feedlots and see what the estimated travel time is.
Weborg Feedlot, Nebraska 13h 55m
Van Meter Fee Yard, Iowa 18h 27 m
S & B Feedyard, Iowa 18h 10m
Sherman County Feed Yard, Kansas 15h 58 m
Now consider what your cattle would look like if it took 2 to 3 days to get them to those feedlots getting unloaded once or twice in strange feed yards and mingling with other cattle. Bet there would be a snotty nose or two in the herd if not outright deaths.
THAT my friends is what we could be looking at if there is not a waiver for livestock haulers to the new electronic log book and mandatory 10 hour rests after 14 hours of service regulations published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that are set to be enforce starting in December 2017.
Look at the approximately 14 hour drive to Weborg Feedlot. Subtract the hour it takes a truck to get to your ranch on shipping day and the hour it takes to load if you have everything sorted and ready to go. The driver is down to 12 hours of service and still has 14 hours of driving! A meal or pee stop will take more time.
Whereas in the past the trucker would load, get in and go deliver your calves and then crawl in the sleeper, he will now have to plan for a 10 hour stop during which he must unload the cattle. Unloading cattle is time on duty so if he doesn’t stop early he will be working past his 14 hours. Then he will need 10 hours continuous time off duty. It will take two days and one unloading minimum to get the cattle from ranch to feedlot where in the past it happened in less than 24 hours.
The mandatory rest stops tie up the trucker with unpaid time and he can’t get back home or to the next load pick up so he is losing even more money due to poor turnaround time. Truck payments remain the same time spent making money is cut. Truckers won’t want long haul livestock loads.
Stressed cattle’s immune system is already weakened. There is a high risk of exposing cattle to bacteria that is in the soil at the off load or disease other cattle there will carrying. Stopping is not recommended by the BQA Master Cattle Transporter Guide for multiple reasons.
We are already receive a lower price here in the north due to shipping distance, but feedlots are just not going to want to bid on cattle that will be endure days of stress and exposure to unknown health risks on the way to their lots.
Tim O’Byrne, livestock industry, litigation consult and editor of Working Ranch Magazine, who is Lead Contact for American Cattle Transporters Advisory Group will be giving an update on the newer regulations that will be imposed on Bull Haulers next year and action steps we can all take to get exemptions to these rules for the livestock industry, during the Cattle Producer Forum, Sept 10, Billing MT.
Check it out www.cattlemensmeeting.com
Contact Tim o’Byrne American Cattle Transporters Advisory Group
(702) 566-1456 or firstname.lastname@example.org