Cattle weighing is one of the many services carried out by South Tipperary FRS, a service that is proving to be very popular with farmers in Tipperary and surrounding counties.
Here Richard Moloney talks about what’s involved. Richard commenced working with FRS Cahir as a general operator in 1990, In 2006 he joined the office staff as farm services coordinator. He has completed a Responsible Persons Course for the sale of animal remedies. Richard farms in Donohill and has a suckler to beef enterprise.
Probably the most commonly asked question when the topic arises. Most farmers consider themselves to be very good judges of their stock and rightly so as they mingle amongst them every day. However, when it comes to putting an accurate weight on such stock there can be a huge variation in the estimated weight to the visual eye.
The reasons I would suggest to a farmer (dairy or beef) are:
Determine the accurate weight of the animal. Don’t rely on your eye.
Weigh regularly and assess the performance of your stock.
For breeding purposes ensure the stock you are going to breed from are up to the required weight for breeding. It is more cost effective to feed a little extra prior to breeding in order to get the extra weight required than to feed an animal prior to calving.
Be in a strong position to determine what cows in the beef herd are producing the best performing animals on the farm.
WHEN TO WEIGH?
There are no specific dates as to when to weigh animals, but certain factors should be taken into account. On the dairy farm heifers intended for breeding should be weighed in February/March. This allows time to select out heifers that will be at the required weight at breeding and those that are too small or lacking in weight and can be pushed forward with increased feed to acquire the target weight for breeding. The same would apply to breeding stock on the beef farm.
Calves are possibly best weighed from Autumn onwards as they become weanlings. From the suckler point of view it will give an indicator what the suckled animal is weighing and if they are to be sold in a mart or privately. Weighing the suckled calf will also tell a farmer the quality of the mother in terms of how well the calf has performed to that particular cow or breed of bull used.
Store Cattle can be weighed at any time of year and depending on what a farmer intends doing with the cattle in question. If selling in the mart or privately it is of useful value. If finishing for beef it is well worth weighing a few times over the fattening period to see how an animal is performing to the level of meal being eaten.
In the past year we have learnt a lot about how cattle perform and aimed to relate this to our farmer clientele. FRS have developed a computer programme that coincides with our weighing service, which gives the farmer a printout of the cattle weighed , the predicted weight in the months ahead and the daily weight gain if the animal had been previously weighed. We have found through the weighing service that sometimes once a fat animal reaches a certain weight it can be more expensive to continue feeding this animal as the extra weight gain does not compensate for the extra expense incurred.
WHAT FACILITIES ARE REQUIRED ON A FARM TO WEIGH?
When FRS goes on farm to weigh cattle for a farmer all that is required is a good crush. We bring a platform which we place at the head of the crush and to which we attach an electronic weighing clock. The animal is put into the crush and allowed stand on the platform for approximately five seconds during which time the electronic clock records its weight. The animal’s ear tag is also entered in the clock so that when weighing is complete a printout of the animals weighed can be given to the farmer. There is no stress put on the animal while the weighing process takes place so it is a very animal friendly service.
To get your animals weighed simply contact Farm relief Services in Cahir (052-7441598) or Roscrea.