Stock Trailers, Flatbed Trailers, Utility Trailers and More

Oscar H. Will III shares a buyers guide on what you need to know about stock trailers, flatbed trailers and utility trailers.

  • hydraulic-dump trailer
    A hydraulic-dump trailer is great for hauling grain or sand, and it will handle anything you'd toss in the back of your pickup.
  • hauling horses
    Hauling is such a part of the horsey life, you might as well have great equipment.
    COURTESY Featherlite,
  • Trailer Chart
    Table of Automotive Engineers trailer hitch classes.

  • hydraulic-dump trailer
  • hauling horses
  • Trailer Chart

This buyers guide tells you what you need to know about stock trailers, flatbed trailers and utility trailers. 

Humans have been using wheeled vehicles for transport since at least 400 BC, and they have been arguing about how to back them up ever since.

Initially, people pulled or pushed those carts and wagons, but they soon discovered that beasts could relieve their burden. Today, automobiles and trucks have replaced the buggies and drays once used for travel and freighting, but our need for towing is as keen as it has ever been. Take a glance at any American highway and you will see road tractors pulling freight-laden semi-trailers, families with their earthly possessions packed in moving trucks with cars in tow, pickup trucks attached to stock trailers taking live loads to market, and more.

For farmers, trailers are a matter of economy and efficiency because we all need to move machines, animals and bulk materials. Trailers add value and possibilities to any tow vehicle, but they also add liabilities and responsibilities. Towing isn’t quite as simple as latching a trailer to your truck and heading down the road, but it isn’t neurosurgery either. With a little forethought and consideration anyone who is comfortable behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can master the ancient art of towing.

Choosing the Right Stock Trailers, Flatbed Trailers and Utility Trailers

For hauling livestock, you can choose a general-purpose stock trailer to haul everything from draft horses to pygmy goats, but there are also highly specialized models designed for one animal species. Ranchers often choose a general purpose pipe-and-panel stock trailer with at least one fore-aft partition to haul everything from calves to the whole remuda. Those trailers can easily handle a small tractor with implements and also move the teenager off to college (you might want to clean it first, depending on your teen). Specialized hog and sheep haulers are more tightly enclosed with a lower overall height, while some completely enclosed, specialized horse haulers offer fully equipped stalls and an air-conditioned tack/dressing room.

The open-deck flatbed trailer is perfect for moving machinery or various types of bulk freight like lumber and can be loaded from virtually any angle. These handy haulers come with plenty of load-securing attachment points for chains and binder straps, and regularly spaced stake pockets, which can be used for attaching removable side panels for added versatility. Some flatbed owners build removable compartments for livestock or dry freight and use the stake pockets to keep them in place.

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