This Good Practice is in response to the on-farm challenge of weighing animals. Weighting animal is laborious and time consuming, especially when the number of animals on a farm is high.
To create an efficient and effective weighing method, a scale is placed between two plots (one with the feed and other with the water trough) capturing individual information through a RFID transponder (located in one ear of each animal). The energy to power this scale comes from an integrated solar panel, and the signals are transmitted to the farm management via antenna, without requiring Internet.
A benefit of using this system to weigh animals on the farm is that farmers are provided with daily real time monitoring of the weight of the animals, which is important to check the animals’ productivity and well-being. Knowing the weight of the animal helps to define the best moment for selling the animals (not too early and not too late) and to take other management decisions. Weight information is valuable for breeding as well.
This weight management would work best for Beef finisher farms with grazing or feedlot systems, when having high number of animals to monitor.
This method has a positive impact across all four themes in the BovINE project:
- Socioeconomic Resilience - An adjusted time on slaughter maybe allows a better selling price. Cost of implementation of the innovation needs to be assessed.
- Animal Health & Welfare - The daily information about individual growth rate (and other information such as frequency of drinking) with warning alerts permits the monitoring of animal well-being
- Production Efficiency & Meat Quality - Reduces the labour time per animal and gives daily data on growth rate, which permits a better selection of the slaughter time. This prevents unnecessary waste of money on feed and care (slaughter too late) or miss out on the profit that additional weight gain could have brought (slaughter too early). The"right" daily gain and the optimun slaughter time is related to carcass yield and quality and also to meat quality.
- Environmental Sustainability - Allows a more efficient production, so more sustainable