Tractor in a Hay Field

Choosing the right weighing scale is a constant battle for farmers and can make the difference between a profitable growing season and a season wrought with stress through financial turmoil. It is therefore essential that farmers are fully prepared for the growing season with weighing equipment that is suitable for their requirements. This article will look at how weighing scales can be useful within the farming industry. 

Why do I need weighing scales for farming?

Farmer's require a vast array of specialist tools, from hand held tools like sheep shears to heavy duty machinery such as combine harvesters. Weighing scales can be used alongside other tools to aid a farm's day-to-day tasks. They can be used for weighing cattle or livestock for farmer's markets, weighing grain or produce after harvesting, as well as weighing pallets of eggs or other produce before distribution to farmer's markets and supermarket retailers.

Crates of Tomatoes on Tractor

Top 4 types of weighing scales for farming

There is an ever increasing variety of farm scales for sale on the market today; as a result, potential buyers should be wary of the 'one scale fits all' approach when looking to purchase a weighing scale.

Farming is a hugely diverse industry that requires various specialist tools that are used for different tasks - It is useful to think of weighing equipment in a similar way. Therefore, we have compiled a list of our top three weighing scales for farms and agriculture along with the advantages they offer over other scale varieties within the farming industry.  

1) Pallet beams

pallet beams can be combined with weighing platforms to form effective cattle weighing scales. large platforms can be placed on top of these beams to weigh small livestock such as lambs, calves and goats when selling by weight at farmers' markets.

Advantages:
The advantages of pallet beams over other weighing equipment is that they provide a portable solution that is convenient and adaptable. In addition, larger weighing platforms can be used for weighing several animals at once.

2) Floor scales / Platform scales

Platform scales/ floor scales are structurally different from pallet beams, but work in a similar way. They can be conveniently placed on floors without the need to lift animals for weighing. Platform scales can come with dynamic animal weighing features that take imprints of animals to calculate an average weight - Ideal for weighing small, fast moving animals such as poultry. In addition, floor scales can be used to weigh large or heavy pallets or crates thanks to large weighing capacities (up to 3000kg). Many platform scales come with parts counting features that allow you to stack multiple crates rather than weigh each one individually.

Advantages:
An advantage of using a platform scale is that they offer a variety of useful weighing applications. For example, checkweighing features that, when combined with checkweighing indicators, can use LED green and red lights to indicate whether a product being placed on the scale weighs a correct amount in accordance with a pre-set amount. Alternatively, parts counting features can be used to weigh individual components of fertiliser essential for crop growth as well as feed for horses and other livestock, ensuring they maintain a healthy lifestyle suitable for breeding.  

3) Bench scales

Bench scales are a convenient, commercial weighing machines that can be used to weigh grain, pulses and vegetables for selling on farmer's markets. Small tote bags can be filled with produce and placed on the bench scale to calculate a price by weight for easy transactions.

Advantages:
Bench scales are portable, convenient and easy to use scales, which makes them ideal for selling produce by weight. Note!: Trade approved scales are required when selling produce by weight.

4) moisture analysers

Moisture analysers are specialist weighing devices that are used to determine the moisture content of pre-packed food products, produce, oils and cosmetic products. In farming, moisture analysers are used to ensure quality and consistency of crops such as wheat, barley and maize by accurately measuring the moisture content. Moisture has a significant effect on the overall product, too little moisture means that large amounts of the crop may disintigrate, whereas too much moisture may encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. Ultimately, a reduction in crops or an increase in lower quality crops is likely to have a negative impact on profit margins per yield.

Advantages:

Moisture analysers are compact devices that can have a huge benefit on crop farming. By regularly testing small samples of crops, farmers can ensure that that product quality is maintained throughout the growing process and can encourage the growth of more successful yields for distribution.

Corn Field

Which farm scale should I use?

In farming, the scale you choose can depend on a variety of factors. Here is our short list of things to consider when choosing the best farming scale for your needs.

1) The variety of farm- For example, if you are strictly a cattle or pig farmer, then pallet beams may be the best choice available as they can be combined with platforms and cattle crushes for weighing several animals at once. Alternatively, if you grow crops rather than manage livestock, then floor scales or bench scales may prove more useful if you intend to sell crops at farmers markets.

2) The size of the farm - smaller farms may not find the need for larger industrial platform scales for regular weighing. It is worth looking through the different weighing scale capacities and platform sizes in order to match these with your requirements. 

3) How you sell or distribute your produce - If you supply directly to retailers, then it may be worth investing in industrial weighing equipment to check weigh your products before distribution. If you only intend to sell produce locally and in small amounts, then it is likely that produce scales such as bench scales will cater to most needs. If selling your product by weight then you need to ensure that you are using trade approved scales.

4) How you intend to use your scales - Intention is crucial to solving your weighing dilemmas. If you intend on using your weighing scales to weigh livestock, then you will probably need to look into weighing equipment that provides dynamic animal weighing features. If you are looking to distribute your products by units, then checkweighing features are vital for ensuring that each unit, crate or pallet weighs a correct, standardised amount.

To conclude:

In order to choose the best weighing scales for your needs, you will need to focus on the farm structure and intention equally.

The size or variety of your farm may mean that specific weighing scales are used more often than others, and therefore may make a more sensible investment. How you intend on using your scales should also be at the forefront of the selection process. You don't want to buy weighing scales that offer a wide range of features if you only need the scale to weigh 1kg bags of potatoes - a 1kg bag can be used easily with a bench scale with checkweighing features.

Finally, check the limitations of the scale you intend on buying - What is its maximum or minimum weight? Pan size? And how does this reflect your needs?

We pride ourselves in being able to provide accurate and reliable weighing scales to suit all of our customers weighing needs. If you require further help in selecting a weighing scale, please contact us or browse our selection of agriculture and farming scales.

Recommended farming scales from Inscale

PT Platform Scales - Adam Equipment

PT Platforms

Adam Equipment's PT platform floor scale features a large weighing area and weight capacity, ideal for measuring individual cattle and livestock weight as well as large batches of crops and grain. Stainless steel varieties are available for an easy cleaning solution.

SJ-HS Compact Scales - A&D

A&D SJ-HS Compact Scales

Accurate and reliable compact bench scale with removable stainless steel pan. A&D's SJ-HS includes checkweighing features for weighing livestock medicines, supplements and small grains to a pre-set weight. We also have trade approved SJ models available for selling grain, cereals, fruit and vegetables by weight.

AELP Pallet Beams - Adam Equipment

AELP Pallet Beams

Adam's AELP pallet beams are portable, heavy duty weighing scales that can be combined with platforms for weighing small cattle such as goats, lambs and calves. Up to 300kg capacity with built-in wheels and handles for easy movement.

PMB Moisture Analyser - Adam Equipment

PMB Moisture Analyser

The PMB moisture analyser incorporates a halogen heating bulb to dry organic samples fast and effectively to accurately measure moisture content. It is essential that crops including wheat, maize and barley contain an optimum amount of moisture to ensure product quality and consistency.

Adam moisture analysers are often used to determine the moisture content in cattle fodder and testing soil consistency. These devices are also used for soil/ ground testing in order to safely support the construction of large farm structures such as barns, greenhouses and silage or grain silos that require solid foundations.