Agricultural weighing applications are widespread. Crops must be fertilized in a controlled manner. Too much fertilizer is wasteful, and can do more harm than good. Monitoring fertilizer usage may be accomplished by weight. Mixing various ingredients that are incorporated into the fertilizer can also require platform scales or floor scales. Measuring the harvested product also often requires weighing scales. Proper animal feed control is critical in the profitable farm application. The ingredients of the feed must be carefully mixed so that the animals receive their nutritional requirements. The appropriate amount of feed must be dispensed to the animals. If there is not enough feed, the animal may fail to gain weight properly, or may be prone to disease. Too much feed is also undesirable, as it is wasteful. The high cost of feed in today’s agricultural environment must be very carefully controlled. In the hog industry, the weight of each animal must also be carefully controlled. Typically, pigs are raised in batches. It is highly desirable for every animal within the batch to reach a specific final weight at the same time. Processors provide bonus amounts for the closer the animal weight is to the target. Penalties are applied when these targets are missed. The accuracy in producing a pig at the required weight is often the difference between a final result of a loss or a profit for the farmer. Arlyn Scales has designed the Smart Sort Innovations pig sorter for this purpose. It consists of a special cage that is located within the path that a pig must travel when it walks to its feed trough. The cage includes a gate that will allow the animal to enter. While the pig is within the cage, a scale device will accurately determine its weight. This scale must be capable of calculating a correct weight even if the pig moves about within the cage. After recording this weight, the front gate system will release the animal into one of a number of different feed areas. If the animal is gaining weight exactly as desired, it will be released into the standard feed area. If it is gaining weight too quickly, it may be directed into a feed area where the caloric content of the feed is somewhat reduced. And if it has not gained enough weight, the feed that will be provided is of enhanced caloric value. This pig sorter is manufactured from welded stainless steel tube. This type of farm environment can be quite harsh, so standard painted steel is not suitable. Additionally, the Smart Sort Innovations sorter uses stainless steel load sensors to accurately weigh the animal within the cage. The digital indicator is housed in a sealed enclosure, so the electronics will not be affected by the corrosive atmosphere. The electronic readout uses large graphics digits, so the weight of the animal can easily be seen by the sorter operator. Data from the pig sorter can be stored in different ways. The scale provides a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connector. A standard USB memory stick may be plugged into the connector to store the weight of each animal each time it travels through the sorter. These memory sticks are quite inexpensive, even for a device that can store tens of thousands of individual animal weights. The memory stick may be taken at any time to a computer for data download. This data is formatted in a manner that may be input into an Excel spreadsheet or an Access database for further evaluation. The most advanced version of the sorter has been introduced with a color touch screen, with advanced data communication. The weight data can be very easily monitored on this type of screen. Furthermore, menu based graphics systems prompt the user to easily adjust all of the parameters of the sorter. This system provides a USB connector similarly to the original units, but is also offers an Ethernet port. Any number of sorters in a farm facility may be connected into a Local Area Network. The data may be collected by a computer on that network. Alternatively, the data can be transmitted over the Internet. A special service is provided by Arlyn Scales that provides this detailed data to any user with Internet access who has been authorized to view it. The browser application not only provides the animal weight data, but it also offers a number of analytical tools, including graphs and charts, so that the farmer can accurately monitor the weight gain of his pigs.
Home Agricultural Weighing Applications