By : Kevin Hill, content editor and online marketing manager at Quality Scales Unlimited
If you are a farmer or own a farming facility, you would understand the importance of having the right scales and weighing equipment for measuring animal performance. You must have the right livestock scales to weigh the livestock, the feed and for making informed decisions for improving the overall efficiency and decreasing the cost of production.
If your old scales are not helping you meet your requirements, it’s time to upgrade them. This article lists some tips and factors you must consider before buying livestock scales.
Tips on Buying Livestock Scales
- Stationary v/s Portable
You must decide whether stationary livestock scales would be better for your operations as compared to portable scales. How you need to weigh a group of animals or individual animals can help in determining the type of scale system needed in your farming operations.
Stationary livestock scales allow you to capture a group weight of animals. These may include a customized platform with gates that help in containing the animals within an area, allowing you to corral the animals and record an average daily weight gain.
Portable scales give you the flexibility of setting up a weighing location quickly around the livestock operation. These scale options are available for alley weigh and squeeze chutes. Portable livestock scales can also be used on uneven surfaces such as gravel.
- Data Storage Capability
It is important to consider the data storage capabilities of the scales. Choose the ones that can record additional data apart from animal identification and weight, body condition score, pregnancy status of animals, etc. This will be useful when your scale indicator is the primary animal management solution instead of your computer.
- Durability and Conditions of Usage
Consider how you would use the livestock scales. Do you need scales that are permanently mounted as they are good for weighing grain into the mixer and weighing animals before shipping or through a central location in a feedlot? Or would portable scales be a good fit for your farm for the multitude of benefits they offer? Invest in scales that are designed to integrate with other systems such as crop production software or herd management software for versatility and long-term ease of use.
- Technological Features
Choose from advanced models that offer time and data entry saving options for recording, tracking and stating information on animals for production monitoring. Some advanced livestock scales are compatible with herd management software, thus helping you automatically keep the records up to date. Some models allow integration of EID readers and others allow for quick capturing of data during high volume operations.
- Weight Gain Evaluation
The livestock scales must have the ability to quickly weigh the feed before feeding and then measure the weight of the animals also. This is critical when you use different feeds and feeding methods or when you want to evaluate the weight gain between different pens in a feedlot.
Opt for the scales that can be loaded with the farm management software you use to avoid the need to manually enter the data. You can also try to integrate data from multiple software programs. If you have a display on the scale or in the tractor on the cart, you can get a quick verification of the weight plus and transfer the data to the software system.
Once you have the information from the grain scale on the input side and the livestock scale on the output side, you can easily compare the weight gain between different breeds, feed types, lots and other critical variables.
If you want to maximize ranch profits, consider all the factors very carefully before investing in livestock scales for your farm.