How often do you feed your herd what the nutritionist actually recommends? Cattle rations are carefully planned and evaluated to ensure optimal performance of each herd. For a precision-feeding program, it is necessary that animals get the TMR recommended by professionals for optimal health and production.
Armed with the operation’s custom feed recipes, farmers rely on the mixer scale system to accurately measure ingredients for their ration. The scale is a vital piece of equipment that consists of two main components: the load cell (or weigh bar) and the indicator. The load cell uses sensors to measure the amount of force or strain on a structure. The indicator interprets the measured strain and digitally displays it as a weight. The scale systems are accurate to +/- 1%.
Since the scale is vital to achieving the correct ration, it is surprising to learn that the components are often overlooked during routine maintenance, resulting in inaccurate weights being displayed and potentially less nutritious rations being fed out. Check power cables for wear and charge the battery if needed.
Make sure the scale is accurately weighing ingredients. Scale accuracy is based on the load cells used to weigh the mixer box. There are two basic scale errors: scale inconsistency and consistent weight addition or subtraction. Both can lead to over or underfeeding of ingredients, among other problems.
Accuracy can be tested by comparing the mixer scale’s recorded weight against the net weight (i.e. the loaded mixer’s weight less the weight of the empty mixer) as recorded on a certified truck scale. If the difference between these weights is more than 1%, contact your mixer dealer to determine if your load cells should be calibrated or replaced.