COTTONWOOD – By guess and by golly isn’t the best method when determining animal weight for auction. For Idaho County 4-H’ers, they’ll be assured of as accurate a weight determination as possible for their livestock at fair this August, due to a recent scale upgrade.
First used at the June 8 spring show, the Rice Lake Livestock scale was jointly purchased for $7,250 by the Idaho County Fair Board and the fair sale committee. Accurately determining animal weight drove the purchase, according to Pam McIntire, board secretary/treasurer.
“The previous scale was over 30 years old, and it was beginning to be not as accurate,” she explained. Age was part of the problem, but another issue was the mechanical component: “On a platform scale like this, the animals jiggle about. It moves and rocks, and that can make the weight vary as much as five pounds as animals stand on the scale.”
The new scale is computerized and not affected by animal movement in determining weight, she said.
“It’s so slick on steady weight, so you don’t have to guess,” McIntire said.
The livestock scale is an essential tool for the 4-H program, which kids use for beef, lamb and sheep market animal projects, determining their beginning, middle and ending weights. According to McIntire, receiving an accurate weight is important for a 4-H participant in determining whether he or she has met animal target goal.
And don’t forget, it all gets back to money.
“This is commerce; you’re buying and selling, so everyone wants an honest scale. So, that’s why we did this,” she said. For example, “If we weighed an animal at 950 pounds, and buyer bought it but didn’t get that amount of product, he wouldn’t be happy.”
The scale was purchased through Scales Northwest, and it was picked up earlier this year at the Ag Expo in Spokane, according to McIntire, to save on shipping costs. This scale was also chosen as the fair needed one that could be certified by the State of Idaho.
With the new scale’s initial use in June, the board is happy with the accurate results and its improvement for the overall operation for the 4-H program.