Weighing scales on farms are used for a number of reasons - and depending on the application, can have a massive effect on efficiency and profitability.
Accurate scales can be used for tracking yields, managing feed and trading produce.
But what are the benefits of using durable and accurate scales on for weighing farm produce? This blog post explains.
1. Comply with new regulations
The Department for Transport is updating vehicle testing requirements which includes weight limits and comes into force in May 2018. The weight limit for agricultural tractor and trailer combinations is 31 tonnes. The trailer itself is limited to 18.29 tonnes (including any load imposed on the tractor through the hitch).
Agricultural vehicles can be weighed using axle weigh pads. The AP-200 has a capacity of 20,000kg per axle but larger capacities are available on request; the pads are wireless, the indicator is touchscreen and the in-built printer means weight readings can be printed and stored.
The farm can also benefit from high capacity scales for weighing the produce before loading onto the vehicles - or outgoing loads. Platform scales feature capacities up to 5000kg and have large base sizes for weighing goods of any size.
2. Track yields
Climate Corporation CEO Mike Stern has said, “The goal today is to optimize every part of farming and remove as many variables as possible,” and weighing can help in achieving this.
According to CNN money, “It’s theoretically possible to harvest 530 bushels of corn per acre, but the national average is only 168 bushels.”
Weighing to track yields can ensure you are maximising output. The scales used for this can be waterproof and portable, and data transfer-capable (see below) scales mean you can compare to previous results more efficiently.
3. Monitor wastage
Weighing scales can also be used to reduce waste. Less waste can result in reduced costs, greater revenue and more profit.
Agricultural waste includes discarded pesticide containers, plastics, bags and sheets, tyres, batteries, clinical waste, old machinery, oil and packaging waste. Plastic packaging waste from agriculture represents approximately 1.5% of the overall volume of plastic packaging in the waste stream in England.
Since 2006 Agricultural waste has been subject to the regulations that control the management of household, commercial and industrial waste. Many of these regulations, such as maximum deposit sizes of plant tissue waste, feature set weights in tonnes that need to be adhered to.
By tracking how much is being wasted using weighing scales, a strategic plan can be put in place in order to reduce wastage amounts.
4. Comply with Trading Standards when pricing based on weight
When the farm goods are ready to be sold, legally a Trade Approved scale must be used if the price is based on weight. This standard is to ensure consistency of weight readings across Trade Approved scales and assures the customer of the scale’s accuracy and reliability. These are therefore perfect for areas such as farmers’ markets.
5. Ensure customers are getting the correct quantities
An inaccurate weight can have financial implications (if the customer receives more than what they ordered) or bad customer service (if they received less than expected) so hitting weight targets is pivotal.
Use a scale with a hi/lo alarm - and add a hi/lo light tower to the scale for even greater convenience - and you’ll know whether or not a product weighs an amount which is in accordance with a preset target.
There can be legal implications, as explained here. If you buying a weighing scale and need a light tower, the optional extras can be found in the right hand menu of each product page.
6. Keep your records up to date with data transfer
Many scales have optional extras available that mean you can record weight data wirelessly. The Scale to USB Lead allows you to connect the scale directly to a PC, weigh your produce on the scale, and transfer the data directly to an Excel spreadsheet on a computer - perfect for internal record keeping.
Alternatively, choose a scale that is compatible with one of Marsden’s desktop printers and you’ll have a record of the weight that you can add to records or attach to the consignment.
For more information on data transfer click here.
Recommended scales for weighing farm produce
AP-200: Axle weigh pads are ideal for weighing farm vehicles. The AP-200 is a 20,000kg-capacity axle weigher which can be used to weigh upto eight axles at a time, with the individual axle and total weight readings appearing on the remote indicator. The indicator is touchscreen for easy use and an inbuilt printer means readings can stored for internal recordkeeping.
B-100: If you need a portable solution for weighing farm produce, a small bench scale like the waterproof B-100 may be perfect for you. This is our best-selling bench scale. It’s powered by an internal rechargeable battery and is IP68 rated which means it can withstand getting wet.
HSS with the JIK indicator: An alternative small bench scale is the HSS-JIK-NA. This scale is IP67 rated stainless steel, and the JIK indicator is suitable for data transfer - either connect directly to an Excel spreadsheet or add the optional printer to keep a record of your weights. There's also a Trade Approved version of the JIK indicator.
Stainless Steel Platform Scale with the JIK indicator: Wastage can be tracked with larger scales, which are perfect if waste is palletised or in large bins that might be moved around on pallets or with pallet trucks. This scale features a stainless steel IP68 base and the JIK indicator is suitable for recording weights - it can be connected to a PC via the Scale to USB Lead or attached to a printer. Our Hi/lo light tower is also compatible with this scale.
Stainless Steel Drive Thru Scale with the I-400SS: A drive thru will mean you can easily weigh palletised goods by rolling the pallet truck onto the scale. It has two ramps with shallow incline to make loading easier. Stainless steel scales may be the best option for you if the scales are likely to get wet, and this IP68 rated.