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New European livestock trailers arrive in Canada

Hydraulic system used to lift livestock

By Drew De Bruyn, University of Guelph Agricultural Communications Student, for


Italian functionality in the livestock trailer sector will be seen in Ontario.

The new style livestock trailers to be sold across North America by Ontario’s Luckhart Transport provide a more comfortable ride for livestock, reducing unneeded stress. The trailers are also easier to load, unload and wash. They arrive as the transportation of livestock becomes increasingly scrutinized.

“The Europeans are light years ahead of us,” says Doug Luckhart, owner of Sebringville, Ontario based Luckhart Transport. Luckhart will be the dealer for these trailers in Canada, USA and Mexico. “Our industry is changing; it is time to adopt their technology.”

Loading and unloading livestock trailers is a lot of work, causing stress on the livestock and drivers. About three years ago Luckhart Transport started to retrofit trailers with a new decking system. Instead of using a ramp to fill each deck, a hydraulic system is used to lift the entire deck, with animals in place.

They have been very popular.  Manufacturing at Luckhart’s takes six weeks and orders are filled until fall 2015.

Earlier this year, Luckhart Transport reached a deal with Pezzaioli, leading Italian trailer manufacturer, to become the North American dealer for its livestock trailers. Pezzaioli can produce trailers at a breakneck speed compared to Luckhart, as many as one and half new trailers a day. Pezzaioli solely focuses on trailer manufacturing, whereas Luckhart Transport retrofit trailers alongside their repair shop, 24/7 wash bay and custom livestock trucking operations.

The Italian trailers are equipped with the hydraulic decks too. But they go beyond the North American norm - they are also insulated, equipped with heated water system with drinkers for pigs and bowls for cattle, and misters and fans for the heat. For the drivers, the trailer roof lifts up allowing easy access, standing fully up.

The Italian trailers will be built to North American standards and the parts will be stocked by Luckhart Transport.  The first trailer arrived at Luckhart at the end of November. A second trailer is on its way overseas now, with plans to sell 100 trailers in Canada, USA and Mexico in the next two years. The Pezzaioli trailers will cost about 10 per cent more than the Luckhart’s renovated trailers.

Luckhart says the livestock trucking industry is an important step between farms and processors. Livestock transport is one of the most visible aspects of the industry to the consumer, and with this new European technology, the welfare of livestock will be improved.

Drew lives on a pig farm in the Salford area. He is in his final year at the University of Guelph, pursuing an animal science degree. Drew has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Guelph and has made friends from across Canada. He tries to get the most out of his schooling, as he enjoys being involved in Ontario Agricultural College activities, attending various club meetings, and even square dances. For fun, he enjoys watching trains. This article is part of Drew's course work for the University of Guelph agricultural communications course, instructed by Prof. Owen Roberts.

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