As a farmer, your success depends upon the health of your livestock. It is important to have a tangible way of weighing and measuring livestock. In order to do so, livestock scales are used to measure the weight of large animals like sheep, cattle, goats, grain, dogs, etc. The benefits also include increased profits and better livestock management.
Things to know before using livestock scales
• Understand your requirements
Understand what exactly you want from the livestock scales. Do you want to track the growth of your livestock by accessing the amount of feed you provide them and the gain in their weight/growth or are you looking to maximize your profits? Livestock scales help you achieve both.
The scale’s indicator memory stores cattle ID tags that record weight measurements for convenient data retrieval when you connect it to management software. You can also attach the reader to your scale and automatically upload ID tags without any manual effort. Opt for scales with advanced features and functions that can carry out wireless data transfers and store efficiently, if you require other measurements or notes on animals’ conditions.
• Placement and set-up of scales
You can choose between a permanent livestock scale or a portable one to weigh your livestock. The permanent scales are quite reliable and sturdy while the portable scales are ideal for weighing livestock at multiple different locations. You can move the portable scales to different kinds of environments, thus putting it to more use and increasing the overall efficiency of the scales.
Make sure that the setup of the scales is done in the right manner as well. If you employ electronic livestock scales that use AC power, make sure they have an access to a dry and safe power outlet, with minimal wire lengths for safety.
• Stability is essential
Ensure you have a stable surface to weigh your livestock. An unstable surface will cause weighing inaccuracies and it will be dangerous for the livestock that is moving in and out of scales. The surfaces need not be totally leveled and flat but make sure they are firm.
• Look out for interferences and other disturbances
Just like any other scales, the livestock scales are quite sensitive to interferences. This is why you must keep the weighing platform free from any kind of obstruction such as rocks, livestock manure, etc., that may cause false readings on the scale.
Load cells are typically situated below the weighing platform and the cables that run out from them must be free of snags, twists and possible tangling with the moving livestock or personnel handling the scales. When you keep the coiled cables from accidental tangling, you will help in avoiding discrepancies in livestock scale readings.
• Dealing with livestock shrinking
When you move your livestock through different locations, it causes stress in livestock animals and leads to a phenomenon called ‘shrinking’, which indicates a loss in the weight of the animals. When you use a portable scale, you can help in reducing this problem and eventually minimizing profit losses. You can keep a side table with all the necessary accessories near the weighing chute as it will lower the stress for animals by reducing the amount of time they need to spend on the scale platform.
Farmers rely on accurate tools to measure the live weight of their animals and monitor their progress. Livestock scales help in doing so, thus allowing farmers to make good management decisions on their farms. The decisions may also include the quantity of feed required for each animal and determining the most appropriate date of selling it for maximum profitability.