Ranch owners and cattlemen recognize the need to care properly for the livestock. A primary goal includes accurately weighing the cattle and monitoring their weight gain or loss. Using livestock scales to measure animal performance is a common practice.
Let us see how these scales help in maintaining healthy animals.
Monitor Animal Health
Maintaining healthy animals is a major challenge in any livestock farm. You can make this task a lot easier by investing in livestock scales as they monitor the animals’ health. They also help in detecting sudden weight loss which could indicate a disease, that can be treated on time so that it doesn’t spread to other animals.
You must make breeding decisions based on the health of the herd. When you weigh the animals, you can easily identify the optimal time to breed, thus preventing complications in the future. Gathering accurate data helps you make decisions that will guarantee healthier calves in your herd.
Measure Feed Consumption
By correctly monitoring the weight gain of the animals, you can know the feed conversion rates. This helps in determining the right feed portions which help you avoid overfeeding or under-feeding the animals.
Determine the Weaning Time
You need to constantly weigh your calves during weight measurement as the decision on weaning determines how well calves are integrated into the herd. Additionally, you can predict the future growth of any calf by analyzing the data and studying the performance gap.
Evaluate breeding performance
By regularly weighing the farm animals using the livestock scales, you can determine the right breed for your farm. Animals that are constantly adding weight should be preferred for breeding as they guarantee healthier calves and better ROI.
Brief Guide to Buying Livestock Scales
Type of Scales
Two obvious choices of livestock scales include a portable installation system or a permanent one, depending on which one best fits the needs of your operations. Portable scales allow you to use the scale at any location at the time of the weighing by mounting the load cell beneath the squeeze chutes.
Conversely, permanent scales should be used when you need to measure weights of a group of animals. They are typically installed on concrete for stability.
You need to know the correct size of the platform, regardless of which scale you install. Having a platform that is connected to an alleyway would be beneficial as it would help the animals get onto the scale in a safe, easy and faster way. Consider rubber matting to reduce noise and get better traction.
Compatibility with Current Software
If you wish to automate the record-keeping, incorporate scales that have software for herd management. This will allow you to update all your records automatically. Some models allow you to identify every animal on the farm, thus preventing you from wasting time through manual identification. These scales are often fitted with an electronic ID interface feature.
Speed of Measurement
If the size of your herd is large, then capturing their weights speedily will make a huge difference in determining how much time you spend on just measuring their weights. A difference of even 5 seconds per animal can add up to hours of saved labor. However, this might not make as beneficial if you are a small herd rancher.
Advanced Data Features
Several advanced data features allow your scales to record body conditions like the pregnancy of the animals. Such features are beneficial for those who rely mainly on the scale for all management decisions.
By investing in the right livestock scales, you can improve the health of your livestock. Consider features of various scales available in the market and decide which one best suits your needs.
About the Author: Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.