Using cattle scales makes it much easier to monitor the health of your cattle, evaluate performance, determine the right amount of feed, and make the best possible decisions for your operation. They’re available at prices for just about every budget, are durable, and could even help to increase profits.
So why aren’t all operations taking advantage of them? Taking the time to collect accurate weights on your cattle is nothing but beneficial to the management of any operation. When the profit margins in the industry are constantly being challenged, it can be the most simple practice that brings the biggest return. While scales come at a cost, not knowing the accurate weight of your cattle can come at a much higher cost, hurting your business over the long run.
You Could Over or Under-Dose Drugs
When you need to administer parasite control, you have to treat footrot or medicate your cattle for any other reason; dosage is calculated on bodyweight. While many use the old rule that calls for guessing the animal’s body weight, adding 300 pounds, and rounding up to figure out the dose, that’s not the most accurate way to do it. If you’re deworming and underdose, it contributes to resistance of those drugs as the parasites get exposed to them, but not enough so that they’re eradicated. That creates resistance, with the stronger parasites the ones to survive and go on to reproduce. On the other hand, overdosing doesn’t result in better control; rather, it wastes money.
It’s the same for antibiotics. Like people, cattle need to be dosed according to the correct weight, or pathogens become resistant. It’s also essential for withdrawal times.
The Less Your Cattle Weigh, the Less Profit You’ll Have
Weight loss in cattle that are on the way to the market, experiencing the stress of handling, short term loss of urine and manure, loss of fluids, and other factors, is referred to as shrink and can have more long-term consequences. Practices like electric cattle prods, over-or under-filling cattle trucks, shouting, long-distance transport, and more make shrink much worse.
The only way to take advantage of every opportunity to ensure optimal weight from birth or purchase to the sale is to have cattle scales and use them. If you don’t, you won’t be able to correct the problem beforehand, which means there will be even greater weight loss and a considerably reduced check on sale day.
Improper Feeding Amounts
Feeding your cattle the appropriate amount is a must for a profitable operation. If you don’t know their weight, it’s difficult to determine how much feed to give them. When it’s checked regularly, you’ll understand when you need to increase or decrease their feed, make changes to their diet, or provide additional nutrients.
Disease Can Spread Throughout Your Animals
When you don’t have accurate weights on your animals, you’re unlikely to know when one of them drops pounds suddenly. If that happens, it’s often the sign of a disease that could spread throughout your cattle. Not knowing their weight means that diseases may not be detected early enough to treat them. If the situation gets worse, you could lose the entire herd.