The Measurement Process
Weighing cattle doesn’t just happen. The animals need to be prepped to make sure the measurements are accurate. For example, if a cow is covered in mud, the caked on dirt can actually add a few pounds to the animal’s measurement. Excessive water can do the same as well. So the animal needs to first be washed off thoroughly and dried a bit before a weight measurement is taken. A good hosing typically does the job with a quick wipe down to get latent water off the animal’s coat.
The next step is to get the animal on the scale. This is typically done by placing the scale in the middle of a singular chute so that the animal can’t step off the scale. It gets the cow or pig to stand on the scale and be stationary for a moment once the chute gates are closed. The restriction assists in better measurements as a result. Once the animal stays put, a measurement is taken as the animal calms down and stands still. Then the exit gate is opened and the animal walks out in to the yard on its own again. This chute line-up process continues until each animal needed is measured the same way. The process works better with a few hands working the animals but it technically can be handled by one person with a bit of planning and the right scale.
Once the measurement process is complete, the animals can be marketed or tracked for growth progress for future sales. The weighing also helps identify any sick cattle or animals that may be having issues digesting and feeding properly. An abnormal weight, either heavy or light, signals an animal that needs to be examined further by either the farmer or an experienced cattle vet.
Because most cattle tend to be marketable within a year to a year-and-a-half of age, the weight factor is very important in the sales process. Young cattle tend to produce the best quality meat at this age, but buyers want to know all the meat is there. Underweight cattle aren’t worth spending good money on. As a result, portable scales help regulate these transactions.
Types of Scales
For weighing cattle for market purposes, a scale marked “legal for trade” is the appropriate tool to use. These types of scales are calibrated and tested by experts to make sure the readings are accurate. Otherwise, fraud could occur when people are selling cattle seemingly weighing more than the animal’s true weight.
Non- “legal for trade” scales are fine for health checks or personal cattle measurements back at the home farm or cattle yard.
Scales also utilize different methods of power as well. The most traditional scales involve no power source, either using weight transfer via mechanical movement or hydraulic pressure to create a metric. These types of scales require regular calibrating to remain accurate. Alternatively, more modern scales use electronic sensors and monitors. However, because of the wiring and electronics, remote locations need a battery power source to run the scale. Additionally, inclement weather can make it hard to maintain the unit without some kind of element protection or special coating.
Maintenance and Care
Any kind of animal weighing scale only works as well as it is maintained. These units need to be cleaned off regularly as cattle frequently track with them more dirt and mud, water, feces and grit that can build up on the floor of cattle scales. Over time, that material buildup can be enough to make measurements inaccurate if unaddressed.
Additionally, as noted above, calibration is critical for proper measurement. The regular adjustment is necessary for any scale used for sales measurements. Local government regulators can get involved, checking equipment to make sure operators are keeping their equipment in working order.
As part of farm equipment, cattle scales are commonplace in large operations, but versatile and mobile units can be great for small ranches as well. For those buying and selling cattle these mechanical assemblies provide very important information on the animal being measured and considered for a transaction. The equipment provides a common standard metric that allows trades to occur without worrying about fraud or having to estimate potential animal weight. This allows cleaner market transactions and keeps farmers in the business of keeping healthy animals. We have the right tools for your cattle or farm weighing scales, providing only the most rugged and accurate scales for your business. Call or click to contact us click to contact us . We want to meet your needs, so the sooner you call, the sooner we can help!