Optimal weigh-in dates and how to submit data

One of the requirements of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Program – Suckler Cows (BEEP-S) is to record the weight of suckler cows and their offspring.

BEEP-S has €40 million in funding this year and the program aims to target the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves by measuring calf live weight as a percentage of cow live weight.

Weights must be recorded on a registered scale and submitted to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) by November 1, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the scheme.

The ICBF, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) and the Irish Co-Operative Organization Society (ICOS), have made available to candidates for the scheme a information offering guidance on weighing livestock for the program.

Optimal date ranges for weighing calves throughout the year:

Calves born between: Recommended weighing period
July 1 and September 30 January 1 to March 31
October 1 and December 31 March 1 to June 30
January 1 and March 31 June 1 to August 30
April 1 and June 30 September 1 to October 31

The BEEP-S weighing equipment available for hire at ICOS associated sales outlets includes the following:

  • 1 stainless steel platform. Length 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in), width 0.64 m (2 ft 1 in);
  • 2 load cells fixed at each end of the platform;
  • 1 x Truetest indicator unit.

BEEP-S weighing

Before weighing livestock ensure that help is available where possible as two people may be required to lift the scale.

Scales should be placed at the front of the crush on a flat, even surface with the cable hidden and the monitor away from livestock damage.

When using the monitor (screen that displays weights), simply press the power button and make sure the screen shows a weight reading of zero. If not, press and hold the “zero” button until zero appears on the screen.

To make sure the scale is working accurately, it’s a good idea to first place a test weight. Place the weight on one end of the platform and read the weight, then place the weight on the other end of the platform and read the weight again. There should be no more than 1 kg difference.

Before weighing cattle, make sure handling facilities are safe and stable. When weighing each animal, ensure that its full weight is applied to the scale and that no other animal is adding weight.

When you are finished with the equipment, it is advisable to wash and disinfect the scales.

How to Submit Recorded Weights

Once the weights are recorded, farmers have several options for submitting them to the ICBF.

The weight submission options are:

  • ICBF website;
  • ICBF weight recording app;
  • Farm software;
  • Paper forms.

ICBF website: Weights can be recorded via desktop or laptop via icbf.com.

ICBF weight recording app: ICBF has launched a new weight recording app for Android and Apple phones that can be downloaded for free. Once downloaded, farmers can access the animals by entering the herd number’s unique ICBF username and password.

Farm software: Weights recorded via an agricultural software package/application will be accepted. It is your responsibility to ensure that the weights are transferred from the software vendor to the ICBF database.

Paper forms: When recording weights online via computer or app is not an option, farmers can submit weights via paper forms. These can be mailed to the farmer upon request. You can request paper forms by calling the ICBF or by logging on to the ICBF website and printing the forms.

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