A weighing scales should be essential on every beef farm

The importance of weighing cattle was emphasised at this week’s Beef 2016, by Teagasc Gordon Peppard.

He said beef farmers should be weighing their cattle every six weeks to be fully sure of their stock’s performance on the farm.

“Farmers will often say that the cattle are looking well and seem to be thriving but you don’t know for sure until you put them on a scales.

“Dairy farmers get an indication every morning of their cow’s performance by looking at their milk yield, however, for many beef farmers it’s the sales ring or the factory scales before they know the weight of their stock,” he said.

Critical farm management decisions such as herd health planning and concentrate supplementation should be determined by the results of regular weighing of beef animals.

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He highlighted that the practice is particularly important for those farmers involved in dairy to beef systems.

He stressed that the viability of these systems is heavily reliant on farmers achieving key performance targets over the course of the animals life on the farm.

“For farmers aiming to produce 21-month beef if they don’t have their stock performing correctly they could easily miss the 21-month target and run into the winter with a significant amount of extra stock.

“This can lead to serious difficulties on farms both in terms of housing and adequate fodder supplies”, he warned.

He encouraged farmers who had not already done so to buy a weigh scales and also highlighted that significant grant aid is now available for farmers to fund the purchase.

Under TAMS II farmers can apply to the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme which provides grant aid of 40% for cattle weigh scales with a reference cost of €1,164.

Under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, eligible young farmers can get 60% grant aid of a cattle weigh scales.