Why Weigh? - Robert Neill



Robert Neill farms with his wife Jac, at Upper Nisbet, near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders.
They have a beef herd of around 300 Limousin-cross and have found that weighing their cattle at weaning and finishing keeps the business productive.

Weaning weights are a vital indicator of the success of the Upper Nisbet breeding programme and Robert believes that accurate weighing early in an animal’s life can indicate future performance. 

"Straightaway we can look at the milk productivity of the dam and know which bulls are performing best.  When we’re vaccinating and worming at this point, we also save money and ensure the best results by knowing their weight – there’s no guesswork involved". 

Cattle go onto their finishing ration for the last 90-120 days, at which point Robert weighs more regularly.

"By weighing every 30 days, we get essential information about their daily liveweight gain and we know when they hit the target weight for our customers and our profitability.  Our cattle mostly go to local butchers and because we have an accurate off-farm weight it’s easy to calculate our killing out percentages".

Robert started weighing his cattle regularly 15 years ago, when he purchased some Tru-Test Heavy Duty Load Bars 
and then later upgraded to a Tru-Test XR3000 indicator.

"When I first got the XR3000, I just played around with the settings in the evening sat in front of the TV and I soon got the hang of it.  Although it was quite daunting at first, it’s actually fairly straightforward, even downloading the information into my FarmPlan software is easy". 

Since then, he’s introduced electronic tagging, first using an electronic wand and later incorporating a panel reader into a new crush.
 
"The system we have now is quick and efficient, we have one man on the crush and one on the race.  The indicator is set up to register the information automatically and as we don’t have to write anything down, there are no mistakes. It’s safer too - the more automated the system, the less stress for the animal and the handlers".
 



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