TRAILER IS A TOP FEATURE
Of all the implements and accessories available, nothing transforms the usability of a quad bike like a trailer. Peter Hill reviews whats available
ON its own, the ATV quad bike is a handy run-about, a means of getting from A to B in double-quick time and, in wet conditions, making less of a mess than a Land Rover in doing so.
But hitch a trailer on the back and the ATV is transformed into a versatile transport vehicle for moving ewes and lambs about the place, carrying bedding or feed to outlying stock, hauling handling equipment and veterinary supplies, and for transporting everything needed for a days fencing.
Trailer manufacturers have come up with a host of different designs and specifications – from basic steel framed models with timber sides, headboard, tailgate and floor, to monocoque style constructions in galvanised steel, running on single or walking beam tandem axles.
Options enable buyers to have a simple box on wheels, a more versatile unit with lift-off or fold-down upper panels, or a fully-equipped livestock trailer with metal roof canopy, loading ramp and gates, suspension and lights for road-legal transportation.
Prices span a similar spectrum – from £350 to more than £1400. It all depends on the size, the build specification and features, and whether its built for off-road or road legal use.
At Lancombe Farm, Higher Chilfrome near Dorchester, Dorset, Keith Hounsell reckons he has one of the most practical and versatile ATV trailers. But then he, along with a number of other local farmers, did have a hand in designing it.
As a result, the Buffalo trailer incorporates numerous ideas arising from practical experience.
"We came up with the idea of putting a sheep door in the tailgate," says Mr Hounsell. "With the lambs penned in at the front, any ewes in the trailer stay facing that way so you can put another in without the others making a break for it; put the door in the side and theyre more likely to do that."
Mr Hounsell runs 400 pedigree Polwarth and Corriedale fine wool sheep, and a flock of 350 commercial ewes expanding by another 300 this year. Moving from indoor lambing in January to outdoor lambing in late April and early May this year increased the workload for the Honda 350 4×4/Buffalo trailer combination substantially.
"It really came into its own; lambing at this time was cheaper and easier to manage but it meant we were moving and handling sheep all the time and really relied on the ATV outfit," says Mr Hounsell.
In the two years he has operated the combination it has been put to numerous tasks, helped by the versatility of folding side panels that fold down to half height and then on to the mudguards to provide a load deck.
This way, the 2m x 1.2m (6ft 6in x 4ft) model – one of four sizes from the manufacturer – run at Lancombe Farm can carry up to 24 bales of hay or a good load of fencing stakes.
"We put half a bundle of 6ft stakes on the trailer when were working on the steeper ground at the back of the farm," says Mr Hounsell. "But it will take a full bundle on the flatter ground with the stakes held between the headboard and tailgate."
Another neat feature, he points out, is the deflector rail that runs from each corner of the body to the square-cut load-bearing mudguards.
"The rails will deflect the trailer around a gatepost if you cut it a bit tight, it would help stop sheep being caught if theyre crowding round when youve feed on board, and they provide a handy step when you need to reach into the trailer," explains Mr Hounsell.
These practical features are backed up by robust build.
"The trailers been used by a number of different people, as well as behind the ATV and a truck and I can honestly say nothing has broken or been bent," says Mr Hounsell. "As a result, all the fittings still fit and work as they should."
Other tasks during the year include putting out ball feeders, 10 at a time, and taking wads of big bale silage to the rams. The trailer will readily accommodate five ewes and transport them and their lambs safely.
"Previously, we used three trailers – a stock trailer, a lightweight general purpose one and a flat-bed. Now, one trailer does the lot; its versatility is a great attraction," he says.n
Double hinged sides and a tailgate sheep door give the Buffalo trailer greater versatility says Dorchester-based sheep producer Keith Hounsell.
Manufacturers producing off-road and road legal trailers suitable for use behind an ATV quad:
Armstrong & Holmes (01400 261061): Tandem wheel trailer with rubber suspension, plywood floor and tailgate, stock gates and fold-down railing sides creating load platform over well-type body. Sizes 2.4m x 1.2m and 3m x 1.5m (8ft x 4ft and 10ft x 5ft). Price: £1600 for smaller model.
Birtill (01780 410330): Field and road-legal single axle ATV trailers with galvanised steel frame, plywood cladding. Sizes 1.62m x 1.2m and 2.4m x 1.2m (5ft 4in x 4ft and 8ft x 4ft). Prices £350 to £675.
Buffalo (01935 411294): On- or off-road single- or tandem-axle trailer in four sizes with choice of galvanised steel body designs and fittings, including half or full height rail or solid sides which fold down to form a load platform, tailgate – plain or with sheep door – and internal divider. Price: for full-specification 2m x 1.2m (6ft 6in x 4ft) model £1226.
Conway Products (01257 254535): Glidalong AT506 single axle all-terrain trailer in 2m and 2.6m (6ft 6in and 8ft 6in x 4ft) sizes. Galvanised steel chassis and fixed or removable sides, including side extensions etc. Price: 2m (6ft 6in) with stock bodywork and cover £970.
Graham Edwards (01759 373062): general purpose/stock trailers for ATVs in galvanised steel with timber flooring. Single or tandem axles, 1.5m x 1m and 1.8m x 1m (5ft x 3ft and 6ft x 3ft) standard, plus specials.
Highland Farm Equipment (01592 644726): Highland road and off-road quad bike stock trailers.
Ifor Williams (01490 412626): P6e range of 500kg and 750kg MGW single-axle low side trailers produced in galvanised steel with options from fixed mesh side extensions with tail ramp to full livestock canopy, ramp and gates. Prices: basic trailer with ramp and side extensions – 500kg £570, 750kg £635; with full stock kit £735, £800.
Lemken Tri-Ag (01953 605151): Lempro stock trailer with galvanised steel 1.5m x 1m x 1m (5ft x 3ft x 3ft) body, hardwood floor, mesh rear gate. Price: £665.
Logic (01434 606661): Range of high- or low-side monocoque quad trailers with deck sizes from 1.5m x 1m (5ft x 3ft 3in) to 2.23m x 1.16m (7ft 4in x 3ft 10in). Single- and twin-axle running gear, galvanised steel bodies with timber flooring, and extension side panels. Prices: from £535 self-assembly to £1420.
Rappa Fencing (01264 810665): TR2000 fixed side 600kg capacity trailer with optional mesh lift-off extensions, ramp and stock cover kit, and Ridley Rappa electric fence dispensing/winding system. Prices: basic trailer £595; extended sides and divider £159; with fence winder unit £975.
TFM Engineering (01539 733881): Single-axle fixed, drop and mesh side trailers. Steel construction with galvanised or painted finish, timber flooring and choice of sizes – from 1.5m x 1m to 2m x 1.2m (5ft x 3ft to 6ft 8in x 4ft).
Tyler (01400 250203): twin axle stock/bale transport trailers with monocoque bodies and fold-down rail sides to form load deck.
Wessex (01420 478111): Wessex ATV stock trailer – 1.5m x 1m (5ft x 3ft) profiled galvanised steel body, timber floor and drop-down tail ramp. Mesh or rail sides and headboard, divider gate. Price: £595, plus £145 for side extensions.