FW Inventions Competition 2021: Cyril Patterson’s pig trailer

Seasoned inventor Cyril Patterson has built an elaborate multiuse livestock trailer featuring a shallow tailgate that allows pigs to be loaded on to the top deck.

The idea came about after he manufactured a successful stand-alone ramp for a neighbour, which transformed pig loading from a stressful four-man job to an easy task for one.

The secret was that the adjustable ramp could be kept at a 20deg angle or shallower (the maximum gradient for pigs to ascend happily) whatever the height of the passage they were being loaded from.

Mr Patterson’s stock trailer works on the same principle, with an extending tailgate that automatically adjusts its pitch according to the ground level, keeping it at or below the magic 20deg.

To do this, he’s fitted legs to raise the rear of the tailgate, thus slackening the angle.

Cleverly, he’s also come up with a way of connecting these legs to the levers in charge of lifting the ramp out of the tailgate, which means a shallow angle can be maintained on any terrain.

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An additional ramp section is used to extend the tailgate to the ground, and this is stowed on the front of the trailer and lifted into place manually.

Crucially, the tailgate can be used without the fold down legs and rear extension for fast loading of sheep and other stock that aren’t concerned about the slope of the ramp.

Rear of the pig trailer

© Cyril Patterson

There’s also a well-thought-out top gate with a drop-down section to form the upper part of the ramp.

This slides up into the roof space of the trailer when it isn’t required, using a system similar to that of an up-and-over garage door.

At the rear, a set of double-folding gates give added flexibility when loading, and a bonus is the fact the second pair can be divided, giving a total of six gates.

Mr Patterson has also included a set of solid boards to hang on the gates that prevent pigs looking through the bars and getting distracted.

These are stowed behind a divider at the front of the trailer when they’re not in use.

Added to that, he’s come up with a neat system for the folding upper decks. These have swing-across box-section supports, which secure to the opposite side using handle nuts with grease-filled caps.

The ramps themselves are operated via a set of levers on the front of the trailer that allow them to be released and lowered into place.

Finishing touches included having the entire chassis and frame galvanised and adding automotive vinyl wrap to the aluminium side panels. He also fitted a comprehensive set of LED lights.

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