Best Livestock Scales for Small-Medium Sized Animals
Prime Scales PS-AS 700
One of the best aspects of the Prime Scales PS-AS 700 is just how easy it is to use. There is no need to go through a lengthy setup or calibration process. Literally plug it in and you’re good to go. It’s a plug-and-play in every sense of the word.
Designed for small-medium sized animals, the PS-AS 700 has a maximum capacity of 700 lbs and can also be adjusted to show oz. and kg and the touch of a button. Its platform is made from stainless steel and measure 38 x 20 inches.
It also features an anti-slip rubber mat to keep the animal grounded when being weighed, and the all-important peak hold button that allows for maximum sensitivity and accurate weight.
IBE Supply 660
The IBE Supply 660 has a maximum capacity of 660 lbs. It is very consistent with its readings, as an animal can stand on the corners of the scale and you will receive the exact same reading as if stood on the center.
Due to its ability to give readings in as little as 0.2 increments it is highly accurate. What we like best about this scale, however, is its bright-backlit, large display panel that can easily be tilted up or down, making it easy to see the reading at a glance,
As it can be powered through an included adapter or 4x AA batteries it is truly a portable livestock scale. It can be taken and used anywhere, especially as it is quite light compared to other models, weighing around 40 lbs. Its stainless steel platform measures 37” x 20”.
Easy to set up and available at a very attractive price, there is much to like about the IBE Supply 660.
Amston ASLVS-XL 700
The Amston ASLVS-XL 700 has a slightly larger platform than other livestock scales designed for small-medium sized animals, measuring 44 x 22 inches. It is therefore a good choice if you’re dealing with slightly larger animals.
One thing we really like about this unit is its 1-inch backlit display with an adjustable mounting bracket. This allows you to setup the display in the best position for your needs.
The scale can be powered via an AC adapter or 6 AA batteries. Features include an auto backlight display, auto shut off and rubber mat, rollers, and handles.
Best Livestock Scales for Larger Animals
A and A Scales FSK-BASIC
Regardless if you’re buying a livestock scale for smaller animals or need one that has a capacity of several thousand lbs, they don’t come cheap.
Enter the 5,000 lb capacity A and A Scales FSK-BASIC. There’s just one catch, though: you need to build it yourself. If you’re willing to do this you will be rewarded with an inexpensive, very high capacity, accurate unit.
Everything that you need to get started is provided, including four mounting blocks, load cells with cables, threaded mounting blocks, bolts, swivel feet, a waterproof junction box, and digital weight indicator.
The company also have a couple of fully built livestock scales that are worth looking into: the VS-660 and VS-2200.
If you don’t need a livestock scale with a ready-made platform and are happy with a squeeze chute setup, the Optima OP-919 is the one to get. It’s a great choice if you want to build a cage system to weigh your livestock.
It has a capacity of 5,000 lbs with 1 lb reading accuracy. The load bars have 4 mounting plates to fix the top firmly, and have a very heavy-duty steel construction that can handle temperatures from 14 to 104 degrees F.
The unit also features wheels and two handles for easy portability.
Another good squeeze chute option is the Amston ASWB-10.
The first thing that comes to mind when you look at the Optima OP-920-1000 is just how heavy-duty its construction is.
With its 18ft. sturdy metal-shielded cable, and 50”L x 20”W x 2.5”H platform, it can accommodate the largest of animals without breaking a sweat. And its ramped ends make it easy for the loading and unloading of animals.
The unit has a capacity of 1,000 lbs, and the LCD display is generously sized so you can see the readings easily.
Despite its size and weighing over 100 lbs, it can be moved easily thanks to the inclusion of carrying handles and wheels.
The Optima OP-920-1000 can be AC or battery powered. A rechargeable battery is included.
Types of Livestock Scales
- Beam Platform Scales: This type of scale is rarely seen, and installation and any repair costs can be high. You might see one for sale every now and again, but they are falling out of fashion.
- Flat Livestock Scales: These are great for weighing larger animals and are particularly common with cattle farmers/ranchers. Some are battery powered but added versatility.
- Single Animal Scales: As the name suggests, these are designed to weigh one animal at a time inside an enclosure. They tend to be highly accurate.
- Stationary Livestock Scales: These also tend to be highly accruable, and are very durable, making them ideal for farmers working in tough environments. Sizes and capacities range from the small to very large.
- Portable/Mobile Livestock Scales: Besides the clear advantage of their portability, the main advantage of these scales is that they allow you to weigh multiple animals at the same time. This makes them great for farmers who sell in lots, for example.
- Livestock Ring Scales: These are a good choice when you want to weigh livestock in processing plants and existing barns.
Important Factors to Consider
Regardless if you opt for a portable or permanent unit, knowing the correct size of your platform is key.
Furthermore, think about if you want a platform that can be connected to an alleyway, as it makes it easier to get livestock onto the scale more easily and quickly. Perhaps a rubber mat would be useful for its enhanced traction and reduced noise.
Permanent vs Portable Scales
Portable scales are more popular for their clear advantage of versatility, allowing you to take readings when and where you prefer, as well as ease of setup – no need to install on concrete, gravel will work just fine. They might not be the right choice for you depending on your needs, though.
If you need to measure the weights of a group of livestock in singles sessions a permanent scale may be the way to go.
Platform Vs. Squeeze Chute
Using a squeeze chute is suitable if you only weigh your animals when you work them, as it is more convenient. However, if you want more frequent readings or have animals that must be weighed at birth, a livestock scale with a platform might be the better choice.
Whether you prefer to use a squeeze chute comes down to if you are planning on weighing livestock with a permanent system or
If you want a truly portable livestock scale that you can use anywhere without the need for an external power source, it’s a good idea to purchase one that either use a rechargeable battery or can take rechargeable batteries.
Considering that many will use livestock scales for every stage of production and output, accuracy can be key as it will affect your bottom line.
Single animal scales are the most accurate option, but they inevitably have the trade-off of being unsuitable if you want to weigh more than animal at a time.
Regardless of which scale you buy, make sure that it will be kept properly calibrated and maintained to ensure the highest degree of accuracy.
Ease of Use
Well-designed livestock scales should be easy to use, including the easy loading and unloading of animals. An user-friendly interface and features that can make the weighing process as smooth and straightforward as possible is also important.
Speed of Reading
The time if takes to get an accurate measurement may not matter to everyone but depending on your herd size and how frequently you are planning on taking measurements, it may be a big deal. Even saving as little as 5-10 seconds each time you take a reading can soon start to add up.
Advanced Data Features
Some livestock scales come packed with advanced date features. Some of these features are unnecessary for most and will only serve to drive the cost of the scale up, especially if you already use other methods for record keeping. Other farmers, however, may see the benefit in them.
Features may include a scale memory indicator memory that is able to store an animal’s weight along with its visual tag or electronic id number; and electronic ID (EID) reader interface; advanced data storage capabilities like pregnancy status and body condition score; and wireless Bluetooth interface for real-time weighing from afar.
While most farmers will be happy to buy and use stock livestock scales as they come, others may require a bit more customization to better fit their requirements. These may include things like the addition of gates, load bars, ramped ends, and wheels, as well as tailoring the platform size and capacity to better suit their needs.
Wash-Down and Cleaning Capabilities
While all livestock scales are designed to withstand the conditions that handling animals and their waste can put them though, some can withstand this better than others. Some are also more suitable for frequent wash downs and even contain removable trays, depending on their size and purpose.