Table of Contents

1. Companies involved

Be aware that some companies mentioned in the “Tractors, combines and balers”, “Trucks and heavy machinery” and “Implements” chapters also supply trailers.


2. Key points for livestock farmers

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

It is common practice amongst farmers to compare trailers prices by looking at size and GVM, and then buying the cheapest one. The GVM is not a reflection of the trailer’s carrying capacity. The weight of the trailer should be subtracted from the GVM to arrive at its carrying capacity. Should you buy a 2,6T trailer, it is illegal for it to carry a 2,6T load.

EXAMPLE: A trailer is equipped with so-called 3T axle. It is registered for 2000kg. Its weight is 680kg. Its legal carrying capacity is 1320 kg.

Technology and quality

Consequently, the technology and workmanship which goes along with building a trailer becomes crucial. Flexible undercarriages last longer and absorb shock and vibration. Independent sprung suspension is more lasting than conventional suspension [leaf-spring suspensions]. This suspension gives more stability to the trailer and fewer vibrations which make livestock restless (horses, in particular, become restless if the underframe vibrates beneath them, but this applies to cattle and sheep too).

Value and resale value

The “extras” like removable livestock railings add to the value of the trailer and, together with the previously mentioned points, contribute to the trailer’s second-hand value. Some manufacturers produce combination trailers, suitable for cattle, sheep or horses. The premise that a trailer is without value once it is “finished” only applies to that trailer which was originally cheaper (and metallurgically incorrect) built. A few fractures, a coating of paint and new tyres will do the trick if it was right when bought. “Cheaper” can be expensive.


All trailers are required to be SABS sanctioned. Legal requirements are for the purpose of road safety: reflector lights, basic dimensions etc. This is not a statement on the strength of livestock railings or indeed of the soundness of the trailer’s structure.