Guesswork doesn’t cut it in modern-day, progressive beef production
By: Jennifer Showalter
Livestock scales and indicators are more advanced and accurate than ever before. Beyond all of the bells and whistles that are available, the bottom line is that every pound counts whether you are buying, selling, treating, or evaluating cattle.
It doesn’t take much arm twisting for a producer to realize just how valuable a trusty set of scales can be on his or her operation. Robin Starkenburg with Digi-Star reminds ranchers that having an accurate means of weighing cattle is beneficial for all ranchers regardless of the size of their spread. Scales allow producers to measure feed conversion, give proper pharmaceutical dosages based on weight, confirm animal weights prior to breeding, determine weaning weights, select more uniform groups of animals to sell, and evaluate breeding performance for genetic selection. “Regular cattle weighing provides management of your livestock leading to improved profitability,” says Starkenburg.
With scales being such an important tool for cattlemen and there being many options out there, WR wanted to lend a helping hand and highlight a few companies and products that are worthy of checking out. This is what we found:
Digi-Star offers hydraulic chute operators their renowned heavy duty 10,000 and 14,000 lb., 4-point scale systems for hi-traffic cattle processing found on feedlot and large cow/calf operations. The SW46000EID Digital Indicator is an advanced management indicator allowing for both EID and Visual ID input with a customize able display offering easy data collection.
Advanced signal filtering coupled with Digi-Star’s unique Lock-On feature provides stable readings despite restless animal movement. A 14-segment backlit display provides excellent visibility in all environments. Digi-Star’s electronic cables are protected with flexible stainless steel cable guards to resist cable injury. Head over to www.digi-star.com for more information about these and other products.
The low profile platform scales from Moly Manufacturing easily mount on a SILENCER chute in minutes. By keeping the scales low to the ground, Moly Manufacturing is able to increase the flow of animals in and out of their chutes. Load bars are placed on all four corners of the chute for a more stable and accurate weight device. Each bar has a 2,500 lb. capacity for a total capacity of 10,000 lbs. Moly’s simple load bar replacement system makes changing out any single load bar a breeze.
Moly’s modular overhead scale package is designed to operate in three positions with no rocking motion: the scale weighing position, which is adjustable in height; the lifted position for easier cleanout (mechanically locks for safety); and the ground position, or floor position, is used when scale capabilities are not needed.
These overhead scales maximize the life of the scale components by locating the electronic wiring above the chute, away from water and manure, and eliminates the wires being cut or pulled loose. Moly’s overhead package requires only two load cells instead of the usual four and is quick and easy to set up. The overhead scale has a total weighing capacity of 15,000 pounds. Both the platform and overhead scales come equipped with the Avery Weigh-Tronix Model 640 Weight Indicator with RS-232 Serial Port. This indicator is simple, yet accurate and reliable. User-friendly features coupled with a rugged construction makes this indicator ideal for the ranching industry. www.molymfg.com
RICE LAKE WEIGHING SYSTEMS
Rice Lake’s MAS-M mobile group animal scale is ideal for ranchers who need to grab a weight on cattle in remote locations. The patented design consists of a suspended rubberized deck and steel pen sides within a mobile base frame that locks down during transport. The weighing platform remains extremely low-profile during use for easy loading. Legal for trade weighing is provided even when this scale is placed off level by up to four degrees. Rice Lake’s X-Lug flooring provides traction in wet and sloppy conditions. This unique flooring is made of recycled, environmentally friendly products that resists both bacteria and moisture, and will never rot.
Rice Lake’s Onboard Weigh Center conveniently produces a legal printed transaction ticket while storing head count, total weight, average weight, and shrink records that can be transferred to a home computer by way of a memory stick. An added unique feature of the Onboard Weigh Center shows the total accumulated weight on a truck or trailer before the final weight is captured. A weatherproof enclosure protects the instrumentation and printer making it functional for weighing up cattle anywhere, anytime. Hit up their website at www.ricelake.com.
The folks over at Tru-Test have been designing rugged livestock scale systems for over 30 years. Their vast product range includes digital indicators, load bars, load cells, and handheld and stationary EID readers. Tru- Test products are compatible with most third-party cattle management software and RFID products.
All Tru-Test indicators feature unique Superdamp™ III technology to record accurate weights quickly, regardless of movement. A stable weight is locked within three to six seconds, while an auto zero function ensures any accumulation of animal dirt or manure is zeroed after each animal leaves the scale. Tru-Test indicators are 100% water and dust proof. They are also available with Bluetooth® technology, as well as a whole list of other features.
Tru-Test load bars are made of aircraft grade aluminum for ultimate resistance to corrosion while the cells are completely enclosed to protect against dirt, moisture, and rodents. Rugged connectors and communication ports add to the durability of Tru-Test systems. They offer free software updates, along with free technical after-sale support from an experienced force. Check ‘em out at www.tru-test.com.
WW PAUL SCALES
Since 1952, Paul Scales has manufactured livestock scales for producers ranging from 500 to 10,000 pound capacities. Now a subsidiary of W-W Livestock Systems, Paul Scales remains a leader in the livestock weighing industry. For ranchers who have more than one location to weigh cattle, WW Paul Scales offers the Model 305s 3,000 pound capacity portable livestock scale. This scale is built to last for a lifetime. It comes complete with an adjustable squeeze side holding pen, lift entry gate, and swing gate on the exit end. The 39” by 99” wood floor has pipe floor cleats to reduce slippage. The outside frame is constructed of heavy duty 3/16” formed steel while the inner frame is constructed of 4” 5.4 lb. channel. The floor is made of 2” by 10” lumber. A portable axle kit is permanently mounted to the scale base. The kit includes 15” tires and wheels, and a removable hitch with a 2” ball coupler. This scale can easily be retrofitted with an electronic indicator. WW Paul Scales takes pride in being made in the USA, and providing accuracy, dependability, and durability. Click on www.paulscales.com for more info.