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Young Dairy Stock Training

Topic 1: Maximising productivity of replacement dairy heifers

1. An overview of the New Zealand Dairy industry

2. The relationship between heifer weight and cow productivity

3. Heifer liveweight targets

4. Six week in-calf rate

5. Estimating mature liveweight

6. What are the feed requirements of heifers?

7. Benefits of contract grazing

8. Recap

9. Reference material

10. Quiz

 

Topic 2: How to weigh young stock

1. Individual vs Mob recording

2. Livestock weighing hardware

3. Livestock management software

4. Practical tips for weighing

5. During a weigh session

6. Troubleshooting

7. Support with your equipment or software

8. Import your session data to a software program

9. Quiz

 

 

 

Topic 1: Maximising productivity of replacement dairy heifers

1. An overview of the New Zealand Dairy industry

In New Zealand the dairy industry has a trend of consolidating individual farms into larger and more intensive operations.  This trend has seen total milk production in New Zealand increase with both more production per cow and more production per hectare. 28% of New Zealand herds are now more than 500 cows and over 600 of these herds have more than 1,000 cows. On average a New Zealand dairy cow produces 4,379 litres of milk per, head per year.

Graph 1. Average herd size and number of herds for the past 30 seasons

As you can see in the above graph the average New Zealand herd size has tripled in the last 30 seasons. In the last 10 seasons alone, average herd size has increased by over 100 cows.

In 2014/15, New Zealand dairy companies processed 21.3 billion litres of milk containing 1.89 billion kilograms of milk solids. This was a record level of national milk production and 56 per cent higher than 2004/05.

Graph 2. Milk solid production per cow and per hectare since 1992/93

In 1992/93, the average dairy cow in New Zealand produced approximately 259 kilograms of milk solids (kg MS) a season. In 2008/09, the average dairy cow produced 323 kg MS. The increase per animal is the result of genetic gains, and improved farm management. Many of these gains have been made possible by the use of hard data to make evidence-based management decisions at the level of individual animals. Farmers have gotten better at identifying, retaining, and breeding high producing cattle.

There remain large differences between the productivity per cow between farms. Farms which use data to better manage their herds have experienced better productivity gains than those who do not.

Graph 3. Distribution of herds by milk solid production per cow for the last three seasons

Other potential causes of productivity variation between herds could include temperature, rainfall, soil fertility, stocking rate, farm management, genetics of the herd, or targeted supplementary feed regimes.

 

Graph 4. Dairy pay out in $ per kg/milk solids

Dairy farmers get paid by the companies that they supply milk to based on the weight of milk solids they produce in a year. The average pay out for the 2014/15 season was $4.69 per kg milk solids. Although in the past there have been lower pay outs, once the numbers are adjusted for inflation, last year's figure was the lowest in the last 20 years.

More concerning for some farmers, the amount they receive for their milk solids is close to, or below the cost, of producing that milk. The graph below shows a comparison of cost of production for milk vs the price received for it.

Graph 5. Pay out received vs cost of production for milk solids

Last year, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said that while the milk price will continue to keep pressure on farmers in the current season, the industry’s performance in cost-cutting on-farm means break-even costs have been reduced.  “We’ve revised our break-even milk income required for the average farmer in 2016/17 to $5.05 per kg MS,” says Mr Mackle. “It was $5.25 per kg MS for 2015/16 and $5.77 in 2014/15.”  

The break-even price includes farm working expenses, interest and rent, tax and drawings; and nets off livestock and other income received.  “The reduced milk price has meant farmers have really fine-tuned their management and analysed their costs of production. This should bring the average farm working expenses back to an anticipated $3.55 per kg MS this season, the lowest level since 2009/10.”  Farm working expenses were sitting at $4.07 per kg MS in 2014/15, so the reduction has been equivalent to around $100,000 per farm, on average.

One of the costs that dairy farmers incur is the cost of rearing young heifers from birth to joining the milking herd. Currently that cost runs at around 40-50 cents/kgMS; this is a significant cost on many farms, so it’s no surprise there’s been a focus on ensuring rearing young stock represents value for money.

 

2. The relationship between heifer weight and cow productivity back to top

With farmers working hard to reduce costs, another way for them to increase their bottom line is to get better profitability from their stock being reared to join the milking herd.

It costs around $1,300 to raise a cow from birth to calving as a 2-year-old.  As such heifers don’t make a profit for farms until their 2nd lactation.  

Rearing stock which will produce the most milk, fastest, best delivers the return on a farmer's investment. For a cow to be maximally productive at first lactation it needs to reach liveweight milestones. There is a direct correlation between reaching target liveweights on time and milk production at first milking.

A study of more than 105,000 by McNaughton & Lopdell showed that 73 percent were more than five percent underweight at 22 months old.  Of these 56% of heifers were more than 10% below target live weight at first calving, highlighting that most heifers are failing to reach the targets. At 22 months of age, this equates to nearly 42 kg below target live weight.

Graph 6.  Actual stock weight vs target stock weight

In the above graph from the McNaughton & Lopdell study, you can see the black line depicting actual animal weight consistently trails the red line showing ideal target liveweight for optimal milk production. This lag starts early in the life of most cattle and remains present at 22 months.

Graph 7. Effects of liveweight gap at first calving on lost milk solids at first lactation

In the above graph you can see the effect of being below target live weight on the amount of milk produced at first lactation. Heifers who reach target live weight will produce 8.5kg more milk solids in their first lactation than if they are 10% below target liveweight

The greater milk production is because smaller heifers divert some of their energy to building mass that would otherwise go to milk production. Therefore, the smaller heifers grow more during their first lactation and do not end up as small mature cows. If small heifers remain stunted as mature animals, factors other than underfeeding should be considered, including genetic variation, insufficient colostrum, or ineffective parasite control.

Irrespective of breed, each kg of liveweight at 22 months, up to maximum defined by an individual's genetic potential, is worth 0.24 kg milk solids.  At a $5 pay out this is equivalent to $1.20 in the first lactation.

Using in calf data for a mob of 50 heifers, the potential gain to move them from 10% under target liveweight to achieving targets is $4,600 at a $5/kg MS milk price.

Thus, by failing to achieve target live weight at calving, farmers are not capturing potential milk production benefits.

 

3. Heifer Liveweight Targets back to top

We’ve seen above that well grown heifers that reach liveweight milestones in their upbringing will have better milk production than under grown heifers.

So what should the target weights for your young stock be? Weight targets should be relative to the final weight that they will be as mature cows: 20% of mature  liveweight at weaning; 30% of mature liveweight at six months, and 40% at nine months; 60% of mature liveweight at 15 months, when they are ready for first mating. At 22 months they should be 90% of mature liveweight.

Table 1 below shows the different growth rates stock should be attaining at various stages of their lifecycle. Measured in kilograms gained per day, the data in table one shows the importance of managing the weight gain of individual animals based on their genetics and age. Note that the daily weight gain is not consistent but changes with age.

Table 1. Growth rates for cattle measured in kg/day

The final mature liveweight for a cow is calculated at 4-5 months post-calving of a 4th lactation or older cow. At this time body condition and cow dry matter intake are stable. Also when a cow is lactating the weight of pregnancy is negligible.

Therefore, the target of 85-90% of mature live weight before calving accounts for the weight of pregnancy (calf foetus, uterus, foetal fluid, etc.). It also accounts for the body condition score target for heifers of 5.5 at calving.

Liveweight is the key driver of the onset of puberty. Therefore it is important that heifers reach key liveweight targets if they are going to reach puberty at 12 months and get in-calf at 15 months.  Getting in calf at 15 months sets them up for a productive first lactation nine months later.

Interestingly, experiments have found that as long as an animal has reached puberty before mating at 15 months of age, there is no increase in milk production by increasing weight gain during the nine months following weaning.

Similar experiments indicate, on average, that there is an increase in milk production in the first lactation (but not subsequent lactations) from increased weight gain rates following puberty and breeding (Table 2).

Table 2. Value of each kg of liveweight up to the 22 month target weight at different milk solid prices

 

4. Six week in-calf rate back to top

Six week in-calf rate - the percentage of a herd that gets in-calf during the first six weeks of mating - is perhaps the number one measure of your dairy herd's reproductive performance.

More than just a measure of fertility though, the 6 week in-calf rate is also an indicator of how well a farm is operating, and delivers other benefits such as:

  • More days in milk
  • Cows recover sooner
  • Earlier start of cycling
  • More chances to conceive and build an optimum herd
  • Fewer empty cows (and wastage), and
  • More calves produced through AI

 

Earlier calving leads to earlier recovery, cycling, and more chances to conceive if a cow misses a cycle. So missing the crucial 6 week calving window can have a significant knock-on effect on the next season’s herd performance.

An average herd size of 419 with a 6 week in-calf rate of 78% will make an $18,436 more in the first year of milking than a similar size herd whose 6 week in-calf rate is 67%.

Currently the average 6 week in-calf rate on New Zealand dairy farms is currently 65%, below the industry target of 78%, and this gap represents a significant opportunity for many farmers - an estimated $28,000 for a 400-cow dairy farm

Achieving the 15 month liveweight target will also help minimise the incidence of heifers remaining empty after the crucial six week window.

The graph below shows that heifers reaching target liveweight milestones will have 5% better 6 week in-calf rates and 1.5% lower empty rates.  This equates to $35 economic benefit per heifer compared to heifers below target liveweight.

Graph 8. Effects on liveweight gap on first calvers reproductive performance

Cows that miss the six week in-calf window are less productive than those that don’t. Because of the compressed time frame, calves which are born later in the season need to grow at a faster rate to make the recommended liveweight targets.

Table three below shows that calve born in August rather than July need to add an additional 8.3% daily growth rate to make target weight at first mating. Those that miss an additional cycle and calve in September need a growth rate of 12.8% more than the July calvers to achieve the same weight. This is expensive, and requires careful management. A better solution is to get as much stock to calve as possible in the six week window.

Table 3. The impact of birth date on required daily weight gain for heifers to reach liveweight milestones.

5. Estimating Mature Liveweight back to top

We know that meeting liveweight targets is an important indicator of overall herd productivity for young stock. We also saw in Table 1 that different breeds of cow can have different mature liveweights. As liveweight targets are set as a percentage of mature liveweight it becomes vital to calculate a heifer’s mature liveweight. Determining a heifer’s target liveweight starts by calculating the mature liveweight of the herd.  

There are three ways to estimate a herd’s mature live weights.  They are:

  • Live weight breeding value (LWT BV)
  • Mature Herd Average Weight
  • National Breed Average Mature Weight

Liveweight Breeding Value (LWT BV)

Currently, different liveweight targets are recommended for heifers based on their expected mature liveweight according to appearance or breed.

Graph 9. The relationship between breed and liveweight targets

The graph above demonstrates the difference an animal’s genetics make to its mature liveweight. Jerseys are smaller than other popular breeds with a mature liveweight of 442 kg. Holstein Friesian x Jersey have an estimated mature liveweight of 493 kg, while a pure Holstein Friesian is larger still at 555 kg.

 

As such, the mature liveweight is difficult to estimate without knowledge of the animal’s genetic potential liveweight. That is, what is the expected average for the breed? To get an animal’s genetic potential liveweight one option is to order a 'breeding value trait report' from your herd recording provider (e.g. CRV Ambreed or LIC). From this report you can calculate the average liveweight BV using the following equation:

 

Mature liveweight = 503kg ± live weights BV

If the BV is +20, then the average mature target liveweight for a group of heifers will be 503kg + 20 = 523kg

If the BV is -15, then the average mature target liveweight for a group of heifers will be 503kg - 15 = 488kg

 

A caveat with this method is that liveweight targets based upon liveweight breeding values are reliant on accurate herd recording to ensure they reflect the genetic potential of an individual.

The average mis-recording rate in a well recorded herd has historically been between 15 and 20%, but studies by the LIC Diagnostics team suggest that figure at more than 25%.  Their case studies show that in general, the larger the herd, the higher the mis-mothering rate is. But they also found smaller herds of 270 and 160 cows with mis-mothering rates of 30%.

MINDA Weight targets, used in one of the most popular on farm stock recording software options, are based upon LWT BV as described above.

Strengths:

  • Objective measure
  • Best prediction based on an animal’s genetics
  • Based on actual data from sire proving herds
  • Accounts for current breeding program targets
  • Majority of animals will have a Lwt BV

 

Weaknesses:

  • An on farm study showed that 30% of animals were not matched to the correct mother
  • Genes are randomly inherited
  • Normal variation is -5% to +5% of the prediction
  • Liveweight is 35% heritable so management has more influence on the final result
  • Currently only available through MINDA software
  • Data will not be available for herds with a high proportion of overseas genetics

    Mature Herd Average Weight

     

    Another method of estimating mature liveweight is to take an average herd liveweight of the mature herd.  With this method, you weigh a subset of the whole herd. You then use the average weight of an animal in this subset as the weight of an average animal in the herd

     

    Weighing guidelines from DairyNZ are:

  • Weigh a minimum 20–50 cows (the more you weigh the more accurate your estimate)
  • Weighed cattle should be 6-8 years of age
  • Weighed cattle should be 100-200 days in milk
  • Weighed cattle should be BCS 4.5 (add or subtract weight if above or below)
  • Cattle should be weighed after the morning milking

 

This information can be used to validate Lwt BVs and will be most accurate for herds with consistent breeding strategies and limited breed variation within the herd.

Strengths:

  • It is representative of actual herd, especially as you weigh more animals
  • Improves what you know about the herd. This information informs choices about stocking rates, drenches, and mineral dosing
  • Captures management and environmental conditions of the farm
  • Weaknesses:

  • It can be time consuming
  • Not every animal will represent “average”
  • Does not capture recent changes in breeding policies (e.g. increasing crossbreeding)
  • Will set targets too low if mature stock were poorly grown

 

National Breed Average Mature Weight

The last option for determining a herd’s mature liveweight is to estimate the likely average mature weight using the breed composition of the herd, and table 3 below.

As these mature weights are the average of the total cow population, groups of heifers of a comparative breed can have targets above the average mature weight. Weight gain records and physical observations should also be used to evaluate the average mature weight when applied to a group of heifers.

Table 4. Mature liveweight average of different cow breeds.

Strengths

  • Easy solution
  • Fast and quick

 

Weaknesses

  • Least accurate of the three weight estimation methods
  • If you factor in the genetic makeup of a herd this method may not represent “average”
  • Not every animal will be “average”

 

Have a look at the below video for a discussion of measuring cow weight by hand! Not recommended for lots of cows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAOg6HRUuFk

Note that in the video above, the use of a tape means you could not possibly home to measure each cow individually. This limits the accuracy of your measurement

 

6. What are the feed requirements for heifers? back to top

If you have heifers that are below the recommended liveweight, supplementary feeding is recommended to increase their weight gain. The DairyNZ Farm fact provides feed requirements for weaned heifers based upon the maintenance requirement for their current live weight, plus a range of growth rates. To increase the weight gain, increase the feed supplement.

Table 5. Feed requirements to achieve specific weight gains per day.

Table 6. Feed requirements to 1kg/day weight gain. This table shows the proportion of feed that goes into maintaining an animal’s current weight. It also shows the amount of dry matter feed needed to attain a growth rate of 1kg/day at a range of starting weights.

The feed requirement figures in the table above are 'eaten' feed demand plus an extra 6% to allow for feed wastage that occurs under good feeding conditions of pasture in farm trials. Where feed (pasture or supplement) wastage rates are higher than those stated, requirements for feed offered need to be increased.  The requirements are calculated for pasture at 11.0 MJ ME/kg dry matter.

 

Summary video of feed conversion rates

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=nz+dairy+industry&oq=nz+dairy+industry&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.5317j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#tbm=vid&q=monitor+cow+weight+gain

 

Note that in the video above, a lot of the measuring discussed is efficiently automated with a scale and cattle crush. Automation lets you track a lifetime of history with one animal, monitor and adjust its individual performance

7. Benefits of Contract Grazing Heifers back to top

By now you may see how intensive the management of heifers can be from a farm management perspective. There are alternatives to farmers investing their own time and resources in managing their young stock. Many vets or grazing providers offer services for rearing young stock.

By using a contract grazing provider, the farmer does not need to set grass aside for stock not being milked. This allows a higher stocking rate of productive animals. If heifers are grazed on farm, the number of cows milked will need to be reduced by around 0.7 cows for every heifer to provide the extra feed needed for the heifer. So if 100 heifers are run on the milking platform, cow numbers should be reduced by 70 cows.

The decision to graze heifers on or off the farm is highly dependent on estimated milk price, grazing costs and a variety of other considerations. For a great summary of the variables associated with pasture growth and management, check out the resource here.

Looking at Table 5 below you can see how in years where the dairy pay out is better it actually costs a farmer more to use his forage for rearing heifers rather than using it to feed to young stock.

Table 7. Breakeven heifer grazing costs ($/heifer/week) at different milk production levels and milk prices.

Dairy NZ has a great contract grazing resource that can be found at here. The image below is taken from that resource. It shows the critical steps to take when entering into an agreement with a grazing provider from a client's point of view. All the questionnaires, checklists and plans can be found on that page.

Image 1. Critical steps when entering into an agreement with a grazing provider.

8. Recap back to top

As a summary of our lessons, watch the video below where Jess Kingsland from Franklin Vets discusses some of the pros and cons of the contract grazing operation they run for customers.

 

Video: Raising heifers with a contract grazer

 

9. Reference material back to top

  1. Feed requirements for grazing dairy heifers - dry matter requirements for fully weaned grazing heifers based on the maintenance requirement for their current liveweight, plus a range of growth rates.
  2. Low milk price pushes farmers to brink - the impact of historically low milk prices on farmers across New Zealand.
  3. Milk price drop will have big impact on rural communities - Rural businesses, not just dairy farmers, will feel a big impact from Fonterra’s announcement today that its 2015-16 Forecast Farmgate Milk Price is reducing from $5.25 to $3.85.
  4. Break even cost pared back as farmers lift efficiency - New Zealand dairy farmers have sharpened their systems and reduced costs through a period of low milk prices.
  5. Young stock - Well grown heifers and their body condition at first calving has a big impact on their reproductive performance and milk solid production.
  6. Body condition scores - All about body condition scoring.
  7. Heifer liveweight targets - Heifer liveweight targets.
  8. Replacement heifers – Rearing the next generation.
  9. Nutrition for young stock - Understanding the nutrient requirements of dairy cows at various stages of lactation.
  10. Grazing heifers off farm how does it stack up - What to ask when reviewing a heifer grazing policy.
  11. Monitoring Liveweight to Optimise Health and Productivity in Pasture Fed Dairy Herds - A thesis on the topic of maximising the productivity of your herd.

 

10. Quiz back to top

Take this short quiz to see how much you’ve remembered about New Zealand’s dairy industry and heifer weight targets.

1. What was the average pay out for the 2014/15 season? Was it

A. $4.69 per kg milk solids

B. $5.42 per kg milk solids

C. $7.26 per kg milk solids

D. $4.19 per kg milk solids

 

2. What was the average break even cost for dairy farmers producing milk in 2016/17? Was it

A. $5.05 per kg MS

B. $5.25 per kg MS

C. $5.77 per kg MS

D. $4.95 per kg MS

 

3. What is the average cost of rearing young heifers from birth to joining the milking herd? Is it

A. 40-50 cents/kgMS

B. 50-55 cents/kgMS

C. 60-70 cents/kgMS

D. 30-40 cents/kgMS

 

4. How much does it cost to raise each heifer to calving as a 2-year-old? Is it

A. $1 300

B. $1 000

C. $1 100

D. $1 500

 

5. During their first lactation, how much extra milk solids will heifers produce for every 1 kg greater live weight at first calving? Is it

A. 0.25 kg

B. 0.20 kg

C. 0.35 kg

D. 0.40 kg

 

6. What percentage of mature liveweight should a heifer be at 15 months of age?


A. 60

B. 20

C. 30

D. 90

 

7. The 6-week in-calf rate is the best overall measure of herd reproductive performance and is used to compare performance between herds.  An average herd size of 419 with a 6 week in-calf rate of 78% will make how much more in the first year of milking than a similar size herd whose 6 week in-calf rate is 67%.

A. $18,436

B. $19,426

C. $16,132

D. $15,581

 

8. Strengths of mature herd average weight

A. Representative of actual herd, improves information for the herd, Captures management and environmental conditions of the farm
B. It obtains information about individual animals, improves information for the herd, Captures management and environmental conditions of the farm
C. It obtains information about individual animals, representative of actual herd, captures management and environmental conditions of the farm
D. Accurate as each animal represents the average, improves information for the herd, quick and easy

 

9. What is the feed requirement for a 450 kg cow to gain 1kg/day?

A.    11.2 kg dry matter per day
B.    6.4 kg dry matter per day
C.    7.6 kg dry matter per day
D.    10.0 kg dry matter per day

Answers: All option A

 

Topic 2: How to weigh young stock

In this topic we’ll be discussing the practical aspects of measuring your herd’s performance. We’ve broken the overall theme of weighing young stock into smaller sections.

Firstly we’ll discuss the pros and cons of different methods of weighing groups of animals. One option is to either use an aggregated, average measure of whole herd performance, called mob recording. Another choice is to measure the weight gain for each animal, called individual recording.

Regardless of which method you choose, you’ll need equipment to weight the animals. So secondly we’ll get into a standard weighing setup which is made up of scales, EID readers, and a cattle crush or platform. You can use a range of interchangeable equipment from various suppliers, all of which is discussed in the equipment section below.

For our third topic, we’ll examine handling the data from the weighing session. Data can be uploaded to either the MINDA or Farm IQ animal management software. In the software section we have an overview of these popular systems, as well as some practice to get you up to speed in each.

Lastly if you have any issues with your gear we’ve finished this section with a range of tips to help you troubleshoot your equipment. We’ve also got the contact details for the people you can call for assistance if you’re in the field and need a hand.

 

1. Individual or Mob Recording back to top

Mob Recording

Mob recording is done by weighing a subset of animals in a herd, and dividing their total weight by the number of animals weighed. This will give you an average figure per animal. The idea is that the subset is representative of the larger herd. The fact that it’s much faster to weigh a portion of the herd rather than the full herd sometimes makes it an attractive option.  Mob recording can be done with a very basic weigh scale which just displays a weight with the results traditionally was written down on paper.

However, mob recording doesn’t give you a view of individual animals which are under-performing.  This includes larger animals which have had a recent check and are doing well.  Without sustained management these animals can go backwards and end up being some of the smallest animals in the mob.

The information that you can get from a mob weighing session can be seen in Table 1 below. The information is basic, showing the date of the session, the number of cattle weighed, and the average weight of the herd.

 

Table 1. Mob Records from a weigh session

 

Individual Recording

With the advent of mandatory electronic cattle tags (EID) we can now electronically track individual animal’s progress against their weight targets.  Using an EID we can detect which animal is in the cattle crush. If we have a sufficiently advanced scale, like a TruTest XR500, scanning their EID tag will bring up their previous weight records that were loaded into the scale prior to the session. We can then weigh them, and immediately get information like that seen in Table 2 below. Table 2 shows that we have an individual daily weight gain per day, as well as an indication of the gain needed to meet our next target milestone.

 

Table 2. Individual Records from a weigh session

From a herd management perspective this allows us to proactively manage a “group of individuals” that may be struggling to meet target.  Interventions for these individuals could either be through targeted feed or health treatments.  As a result we have a more practical chance of capturing the benefits that have been outlined in the previous lesson. We also are not wasting feed on cattle that don’t need supplementing.

With any population of animals we are interested in determining which animals are over performing or underperforming. Over or underperformers are of interest for targeted interventions such as supplementary feeding or health treatments at the low end, or selection for breeding at the high end. Animals in the middle of the bell curve are doing fine without assistance and are managed in a low maintenance way. Leaving animals that are doing well to their own devices frees up our time to concentrate our effort where it will have the greatest impact. As you can see in Graph 1, individual recording makes identifying the over and under achievers possible.

Graph 1. A weight distribution within a herd

Benefits of weighing for your farming operation

Check out the video below for a real life example of the interplay of weighing and EID for maximising the productivity of stock

Click here for the video

2. Livestock weighing hardware back to top

An equipment setup to weigh young stock

At entry level all you need to weigh stock is a scale. However, these days many farmers are using more advanced systems to make decisions based on data gathered from individual animals. The real power in weighing an animal is being able to see its history and use that history to make decisions. With some of the advanced scales, managers can make decisions based off an animal’s weight gain, and draft stock accordingly, without needing to get stock back in from the paddock. Typically a decision making ecosystem looks similar to the picture below.

Image 1. An equipment setup for weighing stock

Let’s explore the ecosystem in more depth

Weigh Scale

Traditionally weigh scales just displayed an animal weight on screen with the results recorded on paper.  However, with the advent of EID high-end weigh scales have evolved into computers capable of recording and displaying an array of individual animal data.  

The two main manufacturers of animal weigh scales are Tru-Test and Gallagher who combined account for 90% of the global sales.  Both companies sell a range of weigh scales with different features and price points.  The variation in price and features between weigh scales is mainly due to data capability.   Weigh scales are also able to integrate with gate auto drafting systems to allow semi-automated or fully automated drafting.

Have a look at the very short video below. The video shows the weighing of dry stock using a cattle crush and an XR500 Tru Test scale. The cattle walk onto the scale platform, and then data about their weight is displayed on the interface unit. Once the operator is satisfied that the weight is stable, a red button is pressed to capture the weight.

Click here for the video

EID tags and readers

In New Zealand it is mandatory for all cattle and deer to be tagged with an EID tag within six months of birth, or before they leave a farm. For this reason all cattle under grazing management should be electronically tagged.  There are two main types of EID tags - FDX & HDX.  Both tag types are National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) register approved and will be read by the majority of devices that recognise EID tags, EID readers, on the market.

HDX (Half Duplex)

HDX tags have a higher performance than FDX tags and can be read from further away. They also have built in protection from electrical interference caused by metal objects in the immediate environment.

  • Some on-farm automation systems (e.g. Protrack) will only work with HDX tags
  • HDX tags are a popular choice for dairy farmers
  • Some older cattle crushes with a lot of metal work that interferes with EID readers are better suited to HDX tags

 

FDX (Full Duplex)

FDX tags have a shorter read range than HDX tags and no protection from electrical interference.

  • FDX tags are suited to most sheep and beef environments
  • FDX tags meet the minimum requirements for NAIT compliance.

Both HDX and FDX tags will have better performance if they are read with a scanner that is tuned to that type of tag.

Take a look at the summary video below for a farmer's view of the value that EID tagging adds for his business. He suggests that the main benefit of EID tagging is that it speeds up the process of information gathering.

 

Click here for the video

 

EID Stick Reader

EID stick readers are used to scan the EID tags of cattle for identification purposes. During a weigh session EIDs are read with a stick reader, which communicates to a scale via Bluetooth. Scanning the EID tag of the animal in the crush aligns the data being read on the scale with the EID of the corresponding animal. In this way we match data with individual animals to get the most power from our decision making systems.

The majority of stick readers will be able to read both FDX and HDX tags.  Different brands of stick readers vary on their ability to work with data. Top of the range at the moment is a Tru Test XRS2, pictured below.


 

The advantages of stick readers

  • Highly portable
  • Can send an EID tag number to an weigh scale via Bluetooth
  • Advanced models allow for fast non-weight related data input
  • Can pair with smart phone software such as  MINDA Mobile
  • High-end models allow for customisable alerts such as “cull”
  • May be more suitable in a grazing management where you are weighing in multiple yards.

The disadvantages of stick readers

  • Must be physically held
  • End of scanner must be within 300mm of tags
  • Need to reach into the cattle crush.  Care needs to be taken.

The video below shows the integration of an EID stick reader with a scale in a weighing operation.

Click here for the video

EID Panel reader

Panel readers are much the same as stick readers as they read an EID tag as cattle come through the crush. The difference from their portable brethren is that they are fixed permanently in place, usually on the side of the cattle crush. The majority of these readers will be able to read both FDX and HDX tags.  

In the picture below, you can see the panel reader as a large black square mounted on the side of the cattle crush.

Panel reader advantages:

  • Do not need to be held.  Can scan the animal automatically as it walks into the cattle crush
  • Longer read distance in comparison to the handheld stick readers - up to 800mm
  • Can send an EID tag number to an weigh scale via Bluetooth
  • Pair with smart phone enabled software e.g. Datalink

Panel reader disadvantages:

  • Less portable than the wand.  This is important in a grazing management scenario where you are weighing in multiple crushes.
  • Needs to be installed correctly to minimise electrical interference from the metal bars of the cattle crush

Load bars, platforms, and cattle crush

 

Load bars

Load bars at set of two or more metal rods, with electronics inside, that measure the load placed on top of them. They sit underneath a cattle crush or platform, and are the component that measures the weight of the stock.

There are broadly three types of load bar on the market.  

Multi-Purpose: 600mm bars that are used under cattle platforms.  There are usually two bars fitted giving a total weight capacity of up to 2,000kg. These would be used where there is a platform but no crush.

Heavy Duty: 1000 mm+ bars that are used under lighter manual cattle crushes.  Two bars are normally fitted giving a total weight capacity of 3-3,500kg.

Extra Heavy Duty: Can be four separate bars that are used very heavy automated cattle crushes.  They can have a total weight capacity of 4,500kg.

The advantages of load bars

  • There are a range of options to meet specific weighing operations
  • Load bars from the main four manufacturers are compatible with most recent weigh scales on the market

The disadvantages of load bars

  • Older weigh scales required manual cell settings to connect to another manufacturer's load bars.
  • Connecting Tru-Test, Gallagher or iScale weigh scales to Iconix load bars requires an adaptor.

 

Platforms

A platform is a tray that sits over a set of load bars. Both Tru-Test and Gallagher supply weigh platforms capable of weighing up to 2,000kg

The advantages of platforms

  • Relatively portable
  • Low step up for animals
  • May be suitable in a grazing management scenario where you are weighing in multiple yards.  Especially if you transport your own load bars as well.  This removes the issue of your weigh scale having to be re-calculated with load bars from another manufacturer

The disadvantages of platforms

  • Limited capability to contain the animal when compared to a cattle crush

Cattle Crush

A cattle crush is a strongly built stall or cage for holding cattle, horses, or other livestock safely while they are examined, marked, or given veterinary treatment. Cattle Crushes allow for more control over stock when compared to a platform.  They vary from manual through to fully automated systems.  

The advantages of a cattle crush

  • Safer to operate than a platform as animals are contained within the crush
  • Able to be integrated with weigh scales to enable auto drafting
  • Semi and automated drafting allow for very efficient weighing and drafting

The disadvantages of a cattle crush

  • Automated cattle crushes add complexity as they may require special settings for scales or stand-alone computers.
  • Cost.  A fully automated cattle crush is a significant financial investment.

 

3. Livestock management software

The power of a decision making system is in being able to track the weight gain of individual animals. You can track the progress of your young stock vs their target weights as long as you have a history of weights for that animal. Integration between EID, scales, and computers allow decision makers to make informed choices based on historical data.

When it comes to managing historical data from your weigh sessions there are two different software products on the market. They are MINDA, from the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), and Farm IQ from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

MINDA

LIC produces and maintains an animal data management program called MINDA.

MINDA is a herd information service that helps farmers to make decisions using complete herd records. It is compatible with, and retains information from, LIC’s Herd Testing and Artificial Breeding services. MINDA provides a variety of data driven reports which enable farmers to maximise herd improvement.

For heifer management MINDA has three main components:

MINDA Live

MINDA Live is a cloud-based version of the herd management system. MINDA Live enables access to your herd records anywhere you have an internet connection. Offering connection through Wi-Fi or 4G, MINDA Live has features such as a virtual ‘holding pen’ that holds information users have entered until it is reviewed and approved. Another feature is a customisable report template that lets farmers build reports by adding new animal attributes e.g. breeding worth, milking information, and expected calving date. It is fully compatible with the traditional MINDA software, and comes with an additional charge for the on the go convenience.

MINDA App

Available for both iOS and Android operating systems, the MINDA app is a way to record events on your smartphone.  The MINDA app includes all features of MINDA Lookup, MINDA Calving, and MINDA Mating. While this can be a great option for farmers out and about on their property, small devices are not ideal for recording the information from a scale head after a weighing session.

MINDA Weights

MINDA Weights is probably the most relevant part of the MINDA software suite for rearing young stock. First have a look at the introductory video below.

Click here for the video

MINDA weights is the place where data most relevant to young stock growing to their potential is held. MINDA Weights provides a graph of individual animal weight compared to their ideal live weights. MINDA weights also factors in the animal's genetics when determining what the target weights for the heifer should be. This allows you to assess their recent growth rate.  

MINDA Weights can also give an overview of past and current growth by grazing mob, while also allowing you to drill down on the performance of individual breeds within the mob.

MINDA Weights uses live weight breeding values (BV). To do this the software factors in an animal's parents, giving better, more accurate predictions of individual and group liveweight targets.

Because MINDA Weights performs calculations based on an animal’s parents it is reliant on accurate herd recording to ensure BV accurately reflects the genetic potential of an individual.

On a cautionary note, Lincoln University’s Demonstration Farm of 650 cows had 192 of their 2010-born calves’ parentage tested, and the results showed a 27% mis-recording rate at birth. This of course has potential implications for the validity of breeding value calculations in MINDA.

Activity: MINDA Weights Online Course

The best way to get to grips with any system is to get hands on with it and have a go. Let’s take a look at the MINDA Weights system using data from a trial farm.

To complete the activity go to the MINDA Weights Online Course by clicking here.

Once you're inside

  • click on “My Courses”
  • select MINDA Weights from the drop down menu

In the MINDA Weighs course click on the MINDA Weights link as shown below.

Navigate your weigh through the short course, watch the videos towards the end, and then finish with a learning check quiz. To access the quiz, click the link shown in the image above.

MINDA Weight Reports

Take a look at the MINDA software in action. Access the MINDA Live service by clicking here.

At the login page, login to the system with the Username: demo2016 and Password: demo2016

You’ll now be into a demonstration MINDA Live session that will show you how the data in the system will look for a client. Once you start uploading data to MINDA, you’ll be able to get reports that look similar to the ones shown here. The real power of MINDA Weights is the ability for you to make management decisions at the level of individual animals.

Access the MINDA Weights user guide by clicking on the link pictured below. Note that it’s found in the “Using MINDA Weights” tab pictured below. Then, using the guide and the example reports on the live system, answer the questions below.

Using the guide, answer these questions.

  1. What does the “Young Stock Growth Trend Graph” show?
  2. Does the “Young Stock Growth Trend Graph” show mob or individual trends?
  3. Which graph allows you to analyse individual animal data?
  4. What are the four quadrants of the “Manage Animals Graph”?
  5. How would an animal end up in the “Action” quadrant of the “Manage Animals Graph”? What action might you need to take with these animals?
  6. How would you view individual information on the “Manage Animals Graph”?
  7. What does the “Weight Range Graph” show?
  8. What is the key benefit of the “Weight Range Graph”?

 

FarmIQ

The FarmIQ farm management system is a farm information hub. It’s designed to store data on your stock, land and activities on farm. It’s designed to maximise your productivity by letting you know which parts of the farm, be it land, stock, or practice adds the most value to the business. Farm IQ is focused on managing information for the dry stock market (beef, sheep & dairy heifers).

FarmIQ have a short introductory course that we’ll take you through as a short introduction. It’s worth completing to get a good idea of the software, and how it works. It’s likely that you’ll be working with clients that are using it for managing their herds.

Access the course by clicking on the link here.

Once you’re logged into the course watch the video “Introduction to FarmIQ”, shown as number one in the picture below. Then work through the three short pieces of number two in the picture below

  • Recording weights
  • Weight target reports
  • Liveweight report

Once you’ve gone through the three sections of number two above, attempt the summary quiz shown in the image below. Access the quiz by clicking on “Review what you have learned”

For further information on Farm IQ feel here are some additional resources

 

4. Practical tips for weighing

We’ve seen how we can use software to manage the data that we get from a weigh session. Now let's get some practical tips about how we can prepare for, and run a weighing session for maximal efficiency.

Preparing for a new weighing session

  • Delete non-current animals
  • Load tag file into weigh scale
  • Check settings
  • Set up information to display and record
  • Choose your data recording setup
  • Weighing settings
  • Drafting Setup
  • Using Favourites

 

Delete non-current animals

Before you begin a new weigh session, animals that have left the grazing program should be removed from the list of animals that will be uploaded to the weigh scale.  

Before uploading a new list of animals to a scale head, make sure all historical data is backed up to your PC in case you need it later.  Then create a list of “non-current” animals on the PC. Upload it to the weigh scale as a session file.  In both the Tru-Test 3000 and 5000 series indicators you have the ability to then delete the animals in the session file. This completely removes these animals from the weigh scale ensuring you are only working with animals in the mob you are weighing.

 

Load tag file into weigh scale

To remove the risk of incorrectly matching birth IDs and EIDs we recommend pre-loading the weigh scale and EID reader with tag files that match Birth IDs and EID Tag. This will speed up the initial induction weigh and remove the risk of incorrectly matching birth IDs and EIDs.  The first time you scan an animal with an EID reader, devices will then automatically display the correct birth id.  

Here is a short video showing the setup of a scale for a new session and set it up for a new task.

 

Click here for the video

 

The main sources of these tag files are:

For assistance with loading a tag file into a Tru Test device contact Tru-Test technical support team on 0800 AGDATA (243 282) or email agdataattrutest.co.nz

 

Check settings

It is always important to check that your data is accurate in the office prior to going on-farm.  The reason is that it easier to solve in the office.  Especially as you don't have the added pressure of cattle in the yards waiting for you.  If your settings are correct the simplest check is to type in a birth id of an animal.  If your data is correct, the weigh scale should then accurately display the EID, Owner, Herd Code, Sex and other relevant information on the weigh screen.  If you have setup a data related draft then type in the birth id of an animal and the draft direction should reflect the draft criteria.

 

Set up information to display and record

Once a new weigh session is created you can then alter the settings on the weigh scale and EID reader to suit a particular task.  This includes what details you display and update on the weigh scale screen.  Aside from the weight we recommend having the following fields visible as a minimum:

  • LID = Lifetime ID or Birth ID.  Normally this is sourced from MINDA or CRV Insight in your pre-session set up
  • EID = Electronic ID
  • Count = A tally of the number of animals measured in that session
  • ADG = Average Daily Weight  Gain since the last weighing

 

Have a look at the video below to see how to customise the information displayed on your weigh scale.

Tru-Test 5000 Series How-to: Record & Manage Information

 

Have a look at the video below to see how to set up your EID stick reader.

XRS2 EID Stick Reader 'how-to' get started and scan electronic tags

Choose your data recording setup

Most weigh scales allow you to choose either an Automatic or a Manual Weight Recording setting.

 

Manual weight recording

Manual weight recording allows you to manually type in information and control when the weight is recorded.  It is the best method to use to ensure accuracy. You will need to press a button to capture an animal’s weight when you are satisfied the recording is stable. This is the method used in our video we watched in the Weigh Scale section above.

 

Automatic Weight Recording

This method is recommended when you are only scanning an EID, capturing a weight and viewing existing lifetime and session data. Use for “hands free” weighing. Weights record automatically when the weigh platform is stable, without having to press the red REC button.

 

Weighing settings

Most of the weigh scales on the market are inter-connectable with other brands of load cells on the market.  However, the may require a setting change on the weigh scale in order to weigh accurately.  This is important to note as you may be dealing with a wide range of load cells on the market when visiting grazing clients.  

Gallagher and Tru-Test use the same type of connector.  However, Iconix load cells need an adaptor to connect to either Gallagher or Tru-Test. Our advice is before the start of the season record what kind of equipment you’ll be using on each of your client’s properties.  This information can then be used to proactively setup your equipment prior to going on-farm.

Here is a short video of setting up a scale for the correct weigh setting before heading out of farm.

Click here for the video

Drafting Setup

Most weigh scales have the ability to set up either and automated draft or in the case of a manual drafter, indicate the direction specific animals should be drafted.  Depending on the type of weigh scale draft decisions can be based upon variables such as:

  • Weight
  • ADG - Average Daily Gain
  • Off TWT - kg below target weight
  • Body Condition
  • Owner / Herd
  • Treatment History

 

Weigh scales such as the Tru-Test XR5000 can also draft by combinations of these variables.  For example, you can draft off a line of heifers to preferentially feed using the following combination:

  • Tail-end by weight e.g. any heifers below 200 kg
  • AND Poor growth rate e.g. any heifers below 0.5kg lwt / day
  • AND Below Target e.g. any heifers more than 25 kg lwt under target weight

 

For a manual drafter the weigh scale will just display an arrow for the relevant direction.  However, a fully automated cattle crush linked to a weigh scale such as a Tru-Test ID5000 or XR5000 will be able to open and shut gates automatically based upon the draft criteria.

Have a look at the video below to see how to set up draft based on the Average Daily Weight gain of cattle.

Click here for the video

Using Favourites

As outlined above there are a range of settings that can be changed for different tasks.  To simplify the process the Tru-Test XR5000 and XRS EID Reader has a feature named Favourites. You can set up Favourites to capture different combinations of settings in one or more Favourite Templates.  

You can then choose the desired Favourite from the list of all loaded into the device, and the device will automatically change its settings to suit.  An example would be connecting to an Iconix load bar under a FarmQuip cattle crush and drafting by weight.  The favourite would automatically apply the relevant settings.

Take a look at the video below for an explanation

Using Favourites

Treatments

More advanced weigh scales such as the Tru-Test XR5000 allow you to record health treatments against an individual animal or against a group of animals within a mob. This not only allows you to be compliant from a traceability perspective, but also gives you the opportunity to link the animal’s response in weight gain to that treatment e.g. vaccinations, drenches.

You can also use the weigh scale to set up new treatments, and automatically calculate the dosage for a particular animal.

Have a look at the video below to see treatment setup and calculation options in an XR500 scale

Click here for the video

5. During a Weigh Session back to top

During a weigh session there may be a few common things you may want to do. In this section we’ll look at

 How to change EID tags

  • Statistics
  • General troubleshooting

 

How to Change EID tag numbers during a session

If your animal has lost an Electronic Identification (EID) tag during the year, you can update the weigh scale with the new tag number.  It is important to keep tag records up to date as an animals record relies on tracking an individual’s performance over time.

Have a look at the video below to see the process of updating an animal’s EID on an XR500. You can do this in the yard if necessary.

Click here for the video

Statistics

Most weigh scales are able to provide some level of statistical analysis during or after a weighing session.  This ranges from a simple tally of animals weighed or average animal weight up to sophisticated reporting on a Tru-Test XR5000.

 

For example, on the XR5000 you can analyse the mob while they are still in the yard using a combination of aggregated mob data and individual animal records. You can quickly identify stock that are below target weights at key times of year. During late spring as you transition into summer, you can identify individual animals that are struggling to gain weight, draft them out, and supplement their feed.

 

Here is a video showing the different statistics you can obtain from a weigh scale. It shows individual statistics, a comparison between individual animals and the rest of the mob, and a record of previous sessions.

 

Click here for the video

6. Troubleshooting back to top

Sometimes your equipment may not be working correctly. In this final section we’ll summarise some of the common errors that occur with a weighing setup, and details some quick fixes to get back on track.

EID Readers

The majority of the EID Readers on the market connect to the scale head via Bluetooth.  

There are two main modes with Bluetooth devices - “Master” & “Slave”.  When an EID reader is in “Master” mode it will search for a weigh scale. Once found it will establish and maintain a connection.  In contrast in “Slave” mode the EID reader sits passively and waits for a connection from an external “master” device.

The key point is that the “Master” Bluetooth device always starts second.  When it turns on it will look for other devices.  Once connected the devices should display a solid blue light.

 

Connecting via Bluetooth to New Devices

If the “Master” Reader HAS NOT connected automatically and it is the FIRST TIME it has tried to connect to the other device you should access the menu and look for an option like “FIND BT Devices”.

Please note that older readers such as Gallagher HR3’s and Allflex RS232 require pc based software to configure the Bluetooth settings.  Essentially you will need to type in the MAC address of the “Slave” device so that the reader knows what to look for.

Here is a video that shows how to connect an XRS2 EID Stick Reader to the XR5000 Weigh Scale Indicator using Bluetooth

 

Click here for the video

 

Connecting via Bluetooth to existing paired devices

If the “Master” EID Reader HAS NOT connected automatically and it has PREVIOUSLY been connected, follow these steps in the suggested order.  

  1. Restart the EID Reader.  If a connection is established, a solid blue light will appear.
  2. If no connection is established, make sure the EID Reader Bluetooth mode is set to “Master”.   
  3. If you want the EID reader to find another device then make sure the mode is set to “Master”.
  4. If still not connecting contact the manufacturers support team.

 

If the “Slave” EID Reader HAS NOT connected automatically and it has PREVIOUSLY been connected, follow these steps in the suggested order.  

 

  1. Go to the “Master” Bluetooth device because it is responsible for finding and then holding the Bluetooth connection.  
  2. Then go into the menu and look for Bluetooth settings.  For example, on an Android smartphone you “swipe” down from the top to select a high-level menu.  
  3. Hold your finger down on the Bluetooth symbol.  This will bring up the Bluetooth menu.  
  4. Then click the “Search” button to look for all Bluetooth devices or alternatively select the “Slave” EID Reader on the list.
  5. The smartphone then should try to establish and hold a connection.  If still not connecting contact the manufacturers support team.

 

No EID information appearing on weigh scale

If there is no EID tag data appearing on the weigh scale it can be due to the following issues:

  • No connection to the EID reader
    • The  Bluetooth connection between the scale head and reader may have been lost
    • If connected by a cable, the cable may be disconnected
  • Weigh scale input settings could be misconfigured
  • The EID tag format is not recognised by the weigh scale
  • The EID reader has a fault
  • The weigh scale has a fault

 

Use of the Terminal Screen to troubleshoot your weigh scale

Efficient troubleshooting in the yards is about quickly focusing on the root cause of the issue.  To assist with this Tru-Test has a “Terminal Screen”.  On the XR5000 go into SETTINGS then SERVICE (password = 5000) then “Terminal”.  Once in the screen wave an electronic tag in front of the reader.  If an electronic tag appears in the “Terminal Screen” then the issue will probably be a setting issue in the weigh scale.  If the electronic tag doesn’t appear then it will either be a connection issue or a fault with the reader.

The “Terminal Screen” will display the electronic tag.  If there are letters or leading zeroes being sent by the EID reader then you probably have an electronic tag format which is not being recognised.  The solution is to go into the EID Reader menu and change it to the correct option.  For example, in the Tru-Test XRP2 push the MENU button and scroll down to “Data Format” and make sure “Dec 1” is selected.  However, on older EID readers like the Gallagher HR3 and Allflex RS232 you will need to connect the reader to the pc and use their configuration software.

If the “Terminal Screen” is displaying the electronic tag in the correct format then it could be the “Input” settings on the weigh scale.  Weigh scales such as the Tru-Test XR5000 have the ability to import a range of data from external devices.  As such the “Input” settings could have been changed from importing an EID number.  On a 5000 series weigh scale go to SETTINGS then CONNECTIONS then select the appropriate “Input” type i.e. Bluetooth.  Then check to see if the “Input” option has “EID” selected.

If the electronic tag is not appearing in the “Terminal Screen” then start by checking the connections.  If connection is via Bluetooth follow the instructions in the previous section.  If via cable then make sure the cable is physically connected.  Also check to see if there is any damage to the cable.  If there is contact the manufacturers support team.

 

7. Support with your equipment or software back to top

If you are in the field and need support getting your Tru Test devices to work, help is at hand. Contact the Tru-Test AGDATA technical support team

 

0800 AGDATA (243 282) or agdataattrutest.co.nz (agdataattrutest.co.nz)

 

8. Import your session data to a software program back to top

As our final section in this topic, take a look at this short video to see how to input the data you gathered during a weighing session to a software program, in this case MINDA. Keeping your records all together in a software program completes the loop, allowing us to track our animal’s performance over time.

Click here for the video

 

9. Quiz back to top

Take this short quiz to see how much you’ve remembered about how to weigh young stock, equipment for weighing, and troubleshooting.

1. Which is more accurate method for weighing cattle?

A. Mob recording
B. Individual recording

 

2. In MINDA Weights, what does the “Weight Range Graph” show?

A. The proportions of the mob are tracking as underweight, ideal, or above their target weight
B. how individual animals within the mob compare with their targets for liveweight and liveweight gain
C. variance to target liveweight in a mob
D. The animals that are above their current ideal liveweight and gaining sufficiently to meet their target weight at the planned start of calving.

 

3. What are the benefits of setting up favourites on your XR5000 scale head before you start a weigh session?

A. Favourites lets you quickly transition to different combinations of settings in one or more templates. 
B. Favourites will automatically delete non-current animals our of a loaded tag file.
C. Favourites automatically provide a statistical analysis of a weighing session
D. Favourites are the easiest way to enter an animal health treatment in the yard.

 

4. Who are the two main manufacturers of scales you will likely encounter at a weighing operation for cattle?

A. Gallagher and Tru Test
B. FDX and HDX
C. MINDA and FarmIQ
D. Iconix and Tru Test

 

5. If I wanted to weigh a load of up to 3 500kg, what type of load bar should I use?

A. Multi-Purpose
B. Extra Heavy Duty cells
C. Heavy Duty cells

 

6. In MINDA Weights, what are the “Weight Range Graph”’s key benefits?

A. Each weighing event is segmented into ‘Underweight’, ‘Ideal’ and ‘Above Target
B. You can focus your data selection on a particular AE breed
C. If more than 10% of the mob is classed as underweight in the most recent weighing event, then this segment of the graph and data table will highlight in red.
D. All of the above

 

7. What does the FarmIQ weight target report show?

A. A comparison of dairy heifer weight gains against a target and against animals born in previous years
B. A comparison of the performance of different groups of animals that are the same age
C. It shows how fast two different groups of heifers are gaining weight
D. All of the above

 

8. When choosing a data recording setup on your scale head, when would you want to choose an “Automatic Weight Recording” setup?

A. When you want the most accurate method.
B. When you want to select when to indicate yourself that the reading is stable by pushing the button.
C. When you are only scanning an EID, capturing a weight and viewing existing lifetime and session data. Use for “hands free” weighing.
D. All of the above

 

9. In an XR5000, what can you see in the history window of the statistics display?

A. An overview of the animal’s daily weight gain
B. A visual comparison between the heifer and the rest of the mob
C. Each session that the heifer has been weighed in as well as date weight, average daily gain.
D. A graph with a distribution of weights within the mob

 

How many steps are there to import the data from a scale head into MINDA weights?

A. 5
B. 6
C. 7
D. 8

 

Answers 1. B, 2. A, 3. A, 4. A, 5. C, 6. D, 7. A, 8. D, 9. C, 10. C