4 Ways To Make Weighing Livestock Easier


Weighing your livestock is one of the essential tasks for farm or ranch management, but it also comes with multiple challenges. Getting an accurate weight can be very difficult using a traditional scale when any large animal is moving around a lot, nervous or stressed. 

The USDA requires ranchers and farmers to use accurate scales if you’re doing business as a stockyard, a dealer, swine contractor, packer, or marketing agency to protect a seller’s right to fair value livestock and guard the buyer’s right to equity. That means it’s a must to have a modern system that ensures accuracy. These options will help you make that task easier.

Choose The Best Scale For Your Operation

When looking at cattle scales or scales for weighing any type of livestock, you’ll want to consider the animals you have, your particular needs, location, environment, and the kind of setup that will work best, along with any management and weight goals. Whether you’re weighing to improve feed efficiency or monitor weight gain, those goals determine the kind of data you’ll need from the weight display indicator.

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You can choose a portable scale or one that’s permanent. Portable scales are perfect when you need to weigh livestock in multiple locations as you’ll be able to move the system, improving productivity and efficiency. Permanent stationary scales are reliable and sturdy, ideal when weighing groups of animals, but you’ll have to be able to move the livestock to your setup to weigh them. 

Surface And Environment

Electronic livestock scales, which are significantly better than mechanical options due to accuracy and other factors, require being strategically placed close to a safe, dry power outlet as the equipment needs AC power. Be sure that the wire lengths are at a minimum for a safe operation. 

You’ll also want to ensure the scales are on a stable surface. Otherwise, the equipment might shift while you’re weighing the animals, causing an inaccurate reading and increase the risk of injury to animals while they’re moving in and out. The surface doesn’t have to be entirely level, however. Scales can be used on uneven areas like gravel and still provide an accurate reading. The surface just needs to be firm enough to balance and hold the animals as they’re weighed.

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Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Stress caused by handling and moving the animals can result in higher heart rates, elevated body temperatures, weakened immune function, and high glucocorticoid values. That translates into reduced productivity and ultimately less profit. When the animals are anxiously waiting to be weighed or moved to various locations, it can also lead to weight loss and make weighing more difficult. Using portable scales can make weighing easier, more accurate, help to minimize shrinking and other potential negative effects. 

Work More Efficiently

You can further minimize stress and shrinking by working more efficiently. One of the best ways to do that is to keep a side table next to your weighing chute so that you’ll have all the accessories and equipment you need nearby. That will allow you to work more efficiently and quickly, reducing the amount of time the animals are on the scale.