Over 18,500 farmers have applied for the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme. This will see almost a million animals (cows & calves) weighed before November 1st this year. With this in mind we have put together a simple five step guide to make the weighing process as simple as possible.
1. Handling & setting up weighing equipment
It is important to handle a weighing scales correctly to avoid injury. A single platform unit is between 40 & 50kgs weight so it’s a job for two people, one person should catch it from either end.
When you are putting the scales in the crush, it’s important that you leave about a foot from the top of the crush to the start of the weighing platform to allow the animal a bit of space for their head. If you put the platform too close to the front of the crush (especially when weighing bigger animals), there will not be as much room on the platform for them.
Once the platform is set up in the crush, just make sure that there is no ‘rock’ in the platform and that it is level. It’s important to have a good level surface under the platform to ensure accurate weights.
The two cables should be plugged into the inlets on the right and the left. Note: the centre inlet is only used for charging.
When setting up a weighing scales, it is important to test the scales first to ensure that it is weighing accurately. This can be done by standing on the scales first yourself to ensure it’s reading a correct weight.
Make sure to have the cables ‘tidy’ before weighing the animals so that they will not get their legs caught in them.
2. Weighing the animals
It is important to remember when you are weighing an animal that its four feet are on the platform, the animal’s head isn’t out through the side of the crush and that the animal isn’t leaning up on anything.
The red light on the indicator will indicate that the weight is locked in.
When weighing smaller animals, you can leave the platform a little closer to the front of the crush. This is to avoid them stepping off the front of the platform. The optimum age for weighing weanlings is between 150 & 250 days (5-8 months). This gives us a good estimation of the dams milking ability.
3. Do’s & Don’ts
If using a bar or anti-backing gate, make sure that the animal is not resting their rump against it. This may cause the animal to sit against the bar and take weight off the platform which may affect the weight.
It’s best not to stall an animal in the sculling gate as they may pull back, which may result in more weight being exerted onto the platform effecting the reading.
If there is more than one animal in the crush, it is important to ensure that the second animal isn’t pressing against the first animal or doesn’t have a foot on the scales so as not to affect the weight of the first animal.
4. Recording the weights
You have several options when recording the animal’s weights, these include:
- ‘ICBF Weight Recording’ mobile app.
- Online Services on icbf.com – Log In – ‘Services’ – ‘BEEP’ – ‘Record Weights’.
- Farm Software package.
- Record on Animal events notebook/any paper and transfer online afterwards.
- BEEP Weight Recording form (if online is not an option). These can be requested from ICBF.
Links to download ICBF Weight recording app:
5. Washing & disinfecting the weighing scales
It’s best practice to wash the scales just after you use it to avoid the dirt sticking to it. If you leave it dry on it can be more difficult to wash. If you wet the platform prior to weighing, it will be more easily cleaned afterwards.
Once the scales is washed, it’s useful to wind the cable around each leg of the beam. This keeps the cable tidy and keeps the end of the cable protected.
The final job is to disinfectant the platform. Brush some disinfectant around the sides of the platform and leave it soak for a few minutes. Finally, rinse the disinfectant off the platform.