Archive for February 2012

by Keith Allen |

Cattle scales are available in two sizes or styles. Small scale cattle operations often use a combination squeeze chute and scale. This equipment weighs the animals one at a time, usually as part of the normal handling process. Larger operations use scales capable of weighing several head at the same time. These scales are usually installed in an alleyway of a feed lot or yard. Small groups of animals are herded on to the scale and weighed. These larger scales are usually professionally installed.

Things You’ll Need

MTIAHS500 Sheep and Hog Scale System. To order this and other cattle scales visit us at


1. Include space for the scale in the cattle handling facility. Small portable scales can be placed in front of the squeeze chute. This allows each animal to be weighed after any medical work, such as vaccination or castration, is performed.

2. Uncrate the scale. Single animal scales are usually shipped assembled, while multi-animal scales should be assembled according to manufacturer’s instructions. Scales are pre-calibrated and only require placement on a level surface. Adjust the levelers on the legs, if present, or place blocks or shims under the legs if necessary.

3. Provide electrical service to the scale site. Digital scales require electricity for operation. Outdoor outlets should have ground fault interrupter protection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Provide a workspace or tabletop near the scale. Weighing the cattle doesn’t do any good unless the weights are recorded. Install an electric outlet and possibly even an computer network connection for computerized recording of weight information.
  • Place permanent scales in portions of the cattle working equipment not under continuous use. The scale should be located where the cattle can be driven onto the scale when necessary but not every time they are moved in the cattle handling facility. This prevents unnecessary wear on the scale.
  • Damage can occur if scales are overloaded. Know the limitations of the scale and limit the number of animals weighed to appropriate levels.
  • Prepare the scale location according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some scales sit on concrete slabs. Others require an excavation and foundation. Know what is required before purchasing the scale.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Dr. Elizabeth Magowan |

There are many commercial feeder types available for pig producers to choose from and in this study, five commercially available feeder types are evaluated on post weaned pigs. The feeder types were: 1) Dry multi space (offered dry feed from four separated compartments beside each other); 2) Wet and dry multi space (offered dry feed and water from three separate compartments beside each other); 3) Maximat (offered a wet feed from a rectangular communal trough); 4) Lean machine (offered a wet feed from a circular communal trough), and 5) Wet and dry single space feeder (offered dry feed and water from a single compartment). In total 800 pigs, housed in 20 pigs per pen were used.

The highest feed intakes and growth rates were attained when pigs were offered feed from the multi space feeders (Table 1). However, pigs offered feed from a dry multi space feeder were more efficient in terms of feed conversion than those offered feed from a wet and dry multi space feeder. The multi space feeder design mimics that of the sucking formation in that it enables pigs to feed together. It appears that the water offered in the wet and dry multi space feed may have caused the feed to become unpalatable. When the total cost of feed consumed per pig from 4-10 weeks of age was calculated a difference of 43p/pig was observed between the dry multi space feeder and the wet and dry multi space feeder. This equates to ₤1,850 on a 200-sow unit where 22 pigs are produced per year per sow. It is concluded that the optimum feeder type for post weaned pigs is the dry multi space feeder.

Does a change in feeder type slow growth?

When pigs are transferred to finishing accommodation on many farms, they experience an abrupt change in feeder type, for example at ARINI feeders change from a Dry multi space feeder to a wet and dry single space feeder. However, a growth check in performance is commonly observed between 10 and 11 weeks of age i.e. in the week directly after pigs are transferred. It is known that changes in the environment of pigs can result in a growth check, mainly as a result of reduced feed intake.

Changes in feeder type at this stage may exacerbate this growth check. It was hypothesized that if the feed type remained constant throughout the life of the pig, feed intake and growth rate could be optimized. Two feeder types were evaluated: a dry multi space feeder (M), and a wet and dry single space feeder (S); over four treatments of feeder sequences (1- S-S; 2- M-M; 3- S-M; 4- M-S). Therefore feeder type changed in two treatments and did not change in the other two treatments. In total 640 pigs housed in 20 pigs per pen were used. The results are shown in Table 2.

Although a greater decrease in feed intake and growth rate was observed in pigs which changed feeder type when they moved accommodation, overall from wean to finish pigs which changed from a dry multi space feeder in stake 1/stage 2 accommodation to a wet and dry single space feeder in finishing accommodation had the highest growth rate. As a result of the high growth rate, the pigs which changed feeder type from a dry multi space feeder to a wet and dry single space feeder had the lowest total feed cost from wean to 100kg live weight. On a 200 sow unit, producing 22 pigs/sow/year, the total feed cost difference between employing the feeder regime of a dry multi space feeder to a wet and dry single space feeder instead of a wet and dry single space feeder throughout the entire life of the pig equated to ₤2,550 per herd per year.


The optimum feeder regime from wean to finish involves using a dry multi space feeder in the space 1/stage 2 accommodation and a wet and dry single space feeder in the finishing accommodation. Major savings can be made using the correct feeder type and regime. Work is currently ongoing at ARINI investigating the use of commercially available ‘transition’ and ‘Jetmix’ feeders, which offer fixed amounts of feed in the form of a wet gruel from a communal trough in the stage 1/stage 2 accommodation.


To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

Installing a radiant barrier can be a great answer to high heat. Summer months bring a lot of inconveniences. Temperatures soar and electric bills shoot up as a response to the need to cool off the house. A barrier is usually installed on the attic order to reduce the summer heat, and in the process help cuts electricity costs associated to cooling. Simply put, the barriers are in place in order to reduce building heating and cooling energy use.

How the Radiant Barrier Works

Once installed, these barriers will reflect the radiant heat back to the source. By some estimates, the barriers can reflect as much as 97 percent of the heat produced. This is usually installed in the attic, and when it’s done most of the heat radiated and received from the roof will be reflected back out through the roof. Thanks to this action, the topmost part of the insulation will be cooler, and helps reduce the amount of heat in the air that circulates in the rooms and areas just below the ceiling.

The commercial barriers that are available in the market are usually made from aluminum foil. This material can perform two basic roles that can help in managing the received heat from the roof. The material used in the barriers can reflect the thermal radiation better. And finally, the material that give off minimal heat. This material is ideal because, one it is a good heat reflector, and two, it is a bad radiator of heat.

RMS-11 - Radiant made simple radiant heat system. To get this and other radiant floor heating products, visit

There are a number of materials that are used in making of these barriers. Here are some of the specific materials that are used and popular right now:

  • Single-sided foil or the one foil side together with another material backing like polypropylene. The backing material should be tougher since unreinforced foil will break and tear easily;
  • Foil-faced roof sheathing material which can be provided by suppliers where the foil is fitted to one side of the sheathing;
  • Double-sided foil has reinforcement on both sides, usually a cardboard;
  • Foil-faced insulation using an insulating material that can prevent heat conduction;
  • Multilayered foil systems and;
  • Radiant barrier chips that are commercially available. The chips are usually blown into the floor of the attic to a depth of around 3 inches. The chips act as products with trapped air pockets which can serve as fibrous insulation products. On the surface, these chips can help collect dust but the real job of the chips is to reduce the heat transfer.

What Affects the Efficiency of the Barriers?

Not all of these barriers are similarly efficient. There are three factors that affect the efficiencies of the barriers including emissivity, reflectivity and angle of installation.Emissivity is the ratio of the radiant energy that leaves a surface to a black body at similar temperature and area. This is expressed in a number between zero and one and the higher the number, the higher the heat emitted.

Reflectivity is the measure of how much of the heat is reflected by the material. This is a number expressed between one and zero and can be expressed as a percentage as well. The higher the reflectivity score, the better.

The angle on how the heat is reflected can be considered as a factor in learning the efficiency of the barrier. Heat striking the barrier perpendicularly is considered efficient.

For the barriers to be truly efficient, there must be low emissivity of 0.1 or less, and must score highly on reflectivity with 0.9 or more. And the good news is that most of the barriers that are available for sale and ready to be installed for home use feature almost similar scores when it comes to emissivity and reflectivity. Here’s another thing to note about the efficiencies of these barriers: these barriers are most effective in regions with hot climate than in areas where it is cooler. They are much more effective in a place like Las Vegas, Nevada instead of Chicago, Illinois.The use of the barriers can also be complemented by making some smart decisions during preparation. For example, the next time you are doing your house repair and home improvements, look for the light-colored shingles or use the white or light metal coverings. Look for additional conventional installations. It’s all about shopping for the right materials, and asking for advices from competent contractors in order to save on heating and cooling.

These barriers can be more effective if they are properly installed. For this reason, it’s recommended to get certified professionals to do the hard work. If you must do the installation, make sure that you have the instructions and the safety precautions. Read and study the instructions before starting the work.

Benefits in Adding Radiant Barrier

  • The use of barriers can help reduce the heat during summer months;
  • These can lower cooling costs by as much as 10 percent;
  • Use of barriers can expand the use of space inside the home. Garages, porches and workrooms can be used as working areas or living spaces the moment barriers are used. Since the areas and the attics will be kept cool, these spaces will be more usable for storage purposes;
  • If the aluminum foil is used as the radiant barrier, this can block as much as 97 percent of the heat radiated by the roof thus there is no need to suffer during the hot summer months.

Is it Best to Add These Barriers to your Homes and Offices?

If your house suffers from extreme heat during the hot summer months, then the radiant barrier may serve as a good investment. This can help save energy and money along the way. The concept of using barriers may not be new, but it is only recently that agencies have found its heat-reflecting roles as effective. And the good news is that manufacturers are looking for ways on how to develop other materials that can perform similar functions.


To get more information on bulk feed binslivestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

When grain is loaded into storage it is at its peak quality. Over time, the quality of the grain will only decrease; it seldom, if ever, improves. The following strategies will help maintain the quality of your grain at the same level as when it went into the bin.

Good Bin Management Suggestions

  • Treat empty bins to control any stored grain pests that may be living in cracks, crevices and below the aeration floor.
  • Clean any grain going into a bin.
  • Remove fines and other foreign material to reduce air flow restrictions and possibly reduce the risk of spoilage.
  • Core a bin (augur out some grain) after filling to establish the flow funnel and redistribute the fines, even if the removed material is put back into the same bin.
  • Install a manometer in the air plenum below the aeration floor to monitor the static pressure of the air moved by the fan. For information on how to build a manometer, see Figure 11-1, Home-Built Manometer.
  • Use the measured static pressure and the fan performance curve to determine the air flow delivered by the fan.
  • Tightly cover unused aeration fan inlets to prevent unintentional air movement through the grain.

Why Aerate Grain in Bins

Grain bin aeration:

  • Removes field heat at the time of harvest or cools grain from a dryer
  • Brings the whole mass to a uniform temperature
  • Removes moisture that has respired from the stored grain as a result of temperature changes caused by the outside air

As bin surfaces are warmed or cooled by the sun or outside air, air currents start to move by convection in the grain mass. Moisture from the grain is carried by these convective air cells and condenses on colder surfaces. These colder areas may be inner bin surfaces or the grain itself. Spoilage can occur if this convective air movement is not arrested. Routine aeration of the bin contents will prevent convective air movement.

Maintain a temperature differential of no more than 5°C between the grain mass and the average outside air temperature to prevent convective air movement from occurring.

Table 11-1. Time Required for Aeration Front to Move Through Grain

Basics of Aeration

  • Bring the whole grain mass to the same temperature.
  • Operate the fan only when relative humidity levels will not add moisture to the grain.
  • Operate the fan for long enough to totally change the whole grain mass temperature – this may require a number of days. The time required for this will depend on the airflow rate per bushel.
  • Become familiar with Equilibrium Moisture Content charts for the grain or beans you are storing (see the section Harvest and Storage in each commodity chapter). Run the fan only under outside conditions that will not add moisture to the stored product. Relative humidity levels of night-time air can add moisture to small grains, beans and natural air dried corn.
  • See Table 11-1, Time Required for Aeration Front to Move Through Grain, for the aeration time required to completely change the bin content temperature.

Grain Storage Monitoring

Monitor all bins of grain stored on the farm on a routine schedule.

Stored grain that is used regularly for feed can be monitored as it is being used. Set up a routine for checking the bins of grains that are not being used regularly. Grain can go out of condition quickly. By carefully and diligently monitoring storage bins, growers will be able to detect the warning signs of possible spoilage problems and be able to take appropriate action to prevent further reductions in quality.

Bulk feeder bin with hopper valve (side mount). Get your at

Monthly Bin Monitoring Checklist

  • Turn on the aeration fan.
  • Climb up and look inside the bin. Look for signs of moisture on the underside of the roof. If water droplets or ice are present, aerate the bin. Moisture from the grain has been carried into the attic space and condensed on the roof metal.
  • Run the aeration fan if a light dusting of snow has been driven into the top of a storage bin. It will sublimate and be discharged as harmless water vapour. If much greater amounts of snow are found, shovel it out.
  • Check for any off-odours. The air should smell like clean grain.
  • Check the grain surface to see if it looks the same as the last time. If it looks dull or off-colour, investigate further.
  • Check for changes in the static pressure or the working pressure of the fan in the plenum under the aeration floor since the previous month. A decrease is no cause for concern. An increase, however, indicates that something has increased the resistance of the air as it moves through the grain mass. Investigate deeper into the grain mass.
  • Look for any signs of insect activity.
  • Record your notes in a monitoring logbook for comparison with the next month’s readings.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.