What Type of Scale Should I Buy?
We get this question all the time, so we’ve put together this buyers guide to help you find the right weighing solution. All of the products discussed below are listed on the right side of this page or are linked in the text. This guide is generally geared toward livestock producers, but a lot of what it covers applies to just about any industry. As always, if you read through this and still have questions, please give us a call. We’d love to help you. The following questions may help you choose the right scale for your application.
I. Are you going to buy or sell animals based on their weight?
a. If you answered “yes,” will the scale be located in Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont of North Dakota?
If you answered YES to question 1, your scale MUST be “Legal for Trade” in all 50 states. If you answered “No” to the second part of the question — that is, if you are NOT in Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont or North Dakota, your scale must also be NTEP certified in order to be legal for trade.(learn more about NTEP here) NTEP Certification has very little to do with the quality or accuracy of the scale, it just means that the scale design has been tested and conforms to NIST Handbook 44. Some states require it, some do not.
DECISION: If you require an NTEP Certified Scale, you are limited to the following options:
Cardinal Single Animal Livestock Weigh Cage Cardinal Harverster Group Animal Scale Rice Lake Single Animal Livestock Weigh Cage 5×5 Floor Scale, NTEP 4×4 Floor Scale, NTEP
Note: All of the scale components that we sell are NTEP certified, but the platform / cage must also be certified for the scale to meet most states’ requirements. You cannot build your own platform / cage if you require NTEP certification.
II. Do you want to weigh your animals in your squeeze chute or on a separate platform?
There is not a “right answer” to this question. How and where you weigh your animals is a matter of personal preference and workflow. If you only weigh your animals when you work them, it is convenient to put your scale under your chute. However, loading all your animals in your squeeze chute just to get a weight is time consuming and stressful on the animals, so if you want more frequent weights, or if you have registered animals that must be weighed at birth, etc., a squeeze chute scale may not be the right answer for you.
DECISION: I want to weigh my animals in my squeeze chute
> Extreme Duty Weighbars
> Heavy Duty Build Your Own Scale Kit
I want to weigh my animals separately from my squeeze chute, one animal at a time.
> Standard Duty Build Your Own Scale Kit
> B&B Scales Single Animal Weighcage
> Cardinal Single Animal Weigh Cage
III. I want to build my own scale with one of your Do It Yourself Kits. Which one should I buy?
Generally speaking, our standard duty, 5,000lb scale kit is the best solution if you want to build a single animal platform scale (or convert small mixing carts, tobacco balers, etc). This kit comes with four 2,500lb load cells, indicator, feet, nuts, bolts, and everything you’ll need to build your own scale. We also sell a Heavy Duty Build Your Own Scale kit. This kit is overkill for a single animal platform but if you want to also weigh round bales, 1-ton bales, pallets, etc., you may want to consider it because of the increased shock load tolerance (e.g., if you drop a round bale on it).
How should I design the platform that I’m going to build?
There is not really a “right answer” to this question, but the easiest design is to use 2″ heavy wall angle iron or square tube to build a 4 x 8 frame, then weld some cross members across the middle to support it. Sheet it with 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 dimensional lumber or plate steel. If you sheet it with plywood, use two sheets of 3/4″ plywood sandwiched together. You can then paint the deck with pick-up-bedliner paint or use a stall mat for traction.