Cattle weight is subject to considerable fluctuations during the fattening phase, and a failure to adequately track this data can lead to sub-optimal productivity. Automatic recording of each animal's weight provides a good opportunity to monitor performance, adjust feed requirements and uncover any problems that may be affecting some animals. In the second year of the BovINE project, demonstrations on automated weighting systems on beef cattle farms across Europe were carried out. 

Farmers from Ireland, Italy, Spain, Poland and Belgium had the opportunity to learn how the automated weighing system works, and what benefits and limitations the technology offers. Demonstrations of integrated automated weighing systems in front of water-troughs were demonstrated in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. Belgium presented an automated weighing system integrated into a feeder. The individual animals weight data is recorded when the animal enters to drink or feed, without stress and in real-time. The daily monitoring during the fattening phase makes it possible to identify animals with problems in the herd. 

The information can be used to detect events such as: health status of the animals, animals that stop drinking or feeding, dominance problems (hindering other animals access to the trough) and feed conversion. Furthermore, the slaughter time of each animal can be planned to be the economically optimal, adding value to the animal sold. The need for operator training and the cost of the equipment, however, may limit its implementation on a farm. However, this technology can replace manual weighing in the future, increasing productivity and animal welfare and reducing labour intensive work on farms.

Further information:

Demonstration: An automated weight system implemented in fattening farms Spain:

Demonstrations on automated weight in Belgium, Ireland and Poland: