Video: What is best practice for weighing animals in BEEP?

As the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) continues following its launch in February, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has released a series of videos, detailing a five-step guide to weighing for participants of the scheme.

Over 18,500 farmers have applied for the new scheme- which will see almost a million animals, between cows and calves, weighed before November 1, this year.

The ICBF has recorded and released five videos for new participants to view, detailing measures for maximum efficiency and safety.

These cover: Handling and setting up the weighing equipment; weighing the animals; dos and don’ts; recording the weights; and washing and disinfecting the scales.

In the setting-up stage, key issues highlighted include leaving the right amount of space between the crush and the weighing platform, ensuring that the scales is completely level and making sure connections are correct.

A good test before weighing is also highlighted.

For the actual weighing of the animals, it is noted to ensure that the animal has all four feet on the platform and is not leaning on anything.

The optimum age for weighing weanlings is between 150 and 250 days – between five and eight months. This gives us a good estimation of the dam’s milking ability, according to the ICBF.

Dos and don’ts highlight tips and advice, as well as pitfalls for participants to watch out for. While simple, the elements can have a significant effect on weight recording.

Farmers are advised to make sure the animal is not resting their rump against a bar or anti-backing gate, if being used, as it could take weight off the platform and distort readings.

In addition, the ICBF says 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.

In terms of recording weights, the federation highlights a range of options to do the job.

These include: The ICBF’s recording smartphone app; the federation’s website; farm software packages; recording on paper in a notebook to transfer online later; and the BEEP Weight Recording hard copy form, which can be requested directly.

Finally, the organisation highlights a post-weighing washing as best  to avoid dirt sticking, recommending to wet the platform before weighing to make it easier to wash after.

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.