As you're probably already aware, weighing animals isn't an easy task, with numerous challenges involved. They might get anxious, nervous, or agitated, which makes weighing cattle accurately incredibly difficult using conventional scales. At the same time, accurate weight is a critical factor for many reasons, from monitoring the health of the animal to determining the appropriate feeding amounts. As DairyGlobal notes, today's top livestock farmers are well aware of the importance of weighing livestock regularly as an integral part of any animal farming operation.
Using scales like Tru Test Scales, in particular, can be an invaluable way to get the information you need as they provide high accuracy and precision while overcoming the typical challenges. They include options that ensure an accurate measurement is obtained whether the animal is patient or restless while on the machine.
The following tips will allow you to use cattle scales in the most effective way possible.
First, Have the Right Scales
One of the key elements in effective cattle weighing is having the right scales in the first place. That means thinking about how you plan to use them - do you want a portable machine that can be used anywhere the animal is or something that's permanently installed in a squeeze chute. If you purchase electronic scales that need AC power, you'll have to be sure they're placed strategically with access to a safe, dry power outlet.
Think about your goals, such as maximizing your profits or tracking growth by accessing the amount of feed provided and their resulting weight gains. The best decision is based on your location, type of setup, management goals, and usage.
A Stable, Firm Surface
Balance is a must for safety and accurate weights, which means cattle scales should be placed on a stable and firm surface. They can be used on slightly uneven areas like a gravel surface, but it's important that the surface is firm enough to balance and hold the animals as they're being weighed. If the surface is unstable, the equipment can shift during the process, which is dangerous for the cattle.
Check for Interference
Cattle weighing scales can be sensitive to interference which may cause inaccurate weight readings. That means it's important to continuously check for anything that might get in the way of the measurement, such as sticks, big rocks, manure, or other debris. By preventing these materials from touching the surface of the scale, it ensures a more accurate weight. Keep in mind that load cells that sit beneath the weighing platform can also be a source of interference. Be sure the cables that run from the load cells aren't tangled, twisted, or catching on anything, as that can negatively impact the accuracy of the measurement. It's best to coil the load cell cables, keeping them out of both the animals' reach and any human traffic.
When moving animals to various locations, it can cause them to become stressed and may lead to something that's often referred to as "shrinking," or weight loss. This can be avoided or at least minimized by the use of portable scales. Or you can use a side table, keeping all equipment and accessories close to the weighing chute to reduce stress as much as possible. The less time the animals spend on the platform, the better.
By following these tips for weighing cattle you’ll be able to operate at an efficient level and keep your cattle safe and relaxed when weighing them.