Getting the Most Out of Your Livestock Scale

livestock scales

Animals are in constant motion so it’s not always possible to weigh animals on conventional scales. It’s easier and more accurate to weigh animals using weighing equipment designed to weigh livestock. Livestock scales offer higher accuracy, precision and convenience when you’re weighing farm animals such as cattle, sheep and horses.

These scales are manufactured for the purpose of weighing animals and are designed to handle a wide range of livestock weights and sizes, as well as the movement of animals on the scale.

Here are four basic things to remember:

  1. Selecting the Appropriate Scale:

    Livestock scales are available in numerous sizes, weight ranges, display types and designs. Livestock scale manufacturers often include features such as weight average, holding and electronic identification (EID).

    Determine what you need from the scale, based on the goals you want to achieve from weighing processes, e.g. monitoring weight gain and feed efficiency, dosage accuracy, etc. This will help you understand the kind of information your cattle scale needs to collect, display and record.

    Listing your requirements and usage will help you understand the scale size, type and specifications best suited for your needs.

  2. Set up the Scale Correctly:

    Proper installation can make a huge difference to weighing accuracy and efficiency, so follow these key tips:

    • If weighing will be conducted in a single location, consider using a permanent scale. If you will be weighing animals on pasture ground, gravel or multiple locations, a portable scale might be the better option.
    • Install permanent scales on a firm, level surface where it will not shift or move around while you’re using it. This helps to improve both accuracy and safety, and ensures the scale is ready for use any time after being mounted.
    • When installing an electronic scale be sure there’s an electricity source within reach, and the installation location is as dry as possible. Also, ensure that power cords and extension cables are not in the way during use.
    • Load cell cables should also be placed correctly to ensure accuracy and safety. Ensure that they are positioned to emerge straight from the load cells under the platform, and mounted out of reach of both human and animal traffic.
  3. Maintain Your Weighing Equipment:

    Just like any other equipment used in your business, livestock scales need proper maintenance, cleaning and upkeep to continue working effectively.

    To avoid weighing inaccuracies, keep the surface of the scale-free of interference and debris such as livestock manure and rocks. Also contact your scale service provider to calibrate your livestock scale on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  4. Limit Livestock Stress:

    Stress caused during the weighing process can lead to livestock shrinking – a drop in the animal’s live weight. It has been determined cattle can lose up to 0.5% of their weight for every 30 minutes spent in sorting and loading, which is 5 pounds for a single 1000-pound animal. This translates into approximately 500 pounds for every 100 animals.

    Livestock shrinking can add up to major losses over time, so it’s important to maximize weighing efficiency to reduce stress on animals. This shrinkage can be harmful to your livestock’s health and well-being. Be sure to plan your weighing process so you can move quickly through the animal weighing to help eliminate stress to your animals which can lead to shrinkage.

At Quality Scales Unlimited, we’d love to help you choose the perfect livestock scale for your farming, ranching and livestock business. Call our sales team for information and pricing.

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