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How to Measure Cattle
Estimating Weight of Beef Cattle with Measurements

Miniature-Cattle.com » How to measure cattle (measurements in inches; weights in lbs.)

It goes without saying that properly calibrated livestock scales are the most accurate and consistent method for determining livestock body weight. But unless you run a large herd of commercial cattle, it is not cost effective to buy a livestock scale. A "guesstimate", or visual observation is usually very inaccurate and not recommended when determining medication dosages, rations, or any other time an accurate weight is important. Small herd owners can estimate the weight of their cattle by measuring them. There are 2 methods to measure for cattle's estimated weight; #1 is the most accurate of the two.

  1. Using two measurements (heart girth and body length) and a formula
  2. Using one measurement (heart girth) and a chart (or a livestock weigh tape)

 

Measuring the hearth girth (used in both methods)

 

Method #1: How to estimate the weight of cattle using 2 measurements and a formula.
Other than a livestock scale, method 1 is the most accurate way to estimate weight with measurements. Use a common tape measure to determine the heart girth and body length measurement. These measurements are then used in the formula below to calculate the animal’s weight.

MEASURE: (A-B) body length measured from point of shoulder to point-of-rump or pin bone.

MEASURE: (C) heart girth circumference, around the body behind the shoulder, over the heart (a point slightly behind the shoulder blade), and very close to the forelegs. Using these 2 measurements, calculate body weight estimate with this formula:

FORMULA
(heart girth X heart girth X body length) ÷ 300 = approx animal weight

e.g., if a miniature bull has a heart girth of 70 inches and a body length of 65 inches,
the calculation would be ... ... ... ... (70" x 70" x 65") ÷ 300 = x lbs., or:
70 x 70 = 4900 ... ... 4900 x 65 = 318,500 ... ... 318,500 ÷ 330 = 965 lbs.

 

Android App: Beef Weight CalculatorUse a Smart Phone App:
There is an android app you can purchase that uses the formula above and does the calculations for you: “The Beef Weight Calculator App” calculates the approximate weight of your beef cattle when you use a cloth measuring tape to determine the cattle's heart-girth and length of body. Simply enter in your measurements to calculate the weight of your animal in pounds. This easy to use calculator is useful for veterinary medicine, vocational agriculture, farmers and ranchers.

 

METHOD #1 formulas are also available for other Livestock:

  • Sheep, goats: (heart girth X heart girth X body length) ÷ 300 = approx animal weight.
    Same as cattle except wool sheep should be shorn or have wool parted very well.
  • Hogs: (heart girth X heart girth X body length) ÷ 400 = weight in pounds.
    Measure length of body from between the ears (poll) over backbone to base of the tail.
    This formula is for hogs from 150-400 lbs. For hogs less than 150 lbs, add 7 lbs.
  • Horses: (heart girth X heart girth X body length) ÷ 330 = weight in pounds.
    Measure the circumference (heart girth) of body (C) just like cattle: from the base of the withers, down under the belly, just behind the elbow and foreleg.

 

 

Method #2: How to estimate the weight of cattle using only heart-girth.
Beef Cattle Weigh Chart: Use a (soft) measure tape along with this chart (below). Although not taking the length of body into account with this method, using just the heart girth measurement still gets a decent estimate of weight.


Beef Cattle Weight Chart

Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#
30 91   42 236   54 484   66 834   78 1288
30½ 95   42½ 244   54½ 496   66½ 850   78½ 1310
31 99   43 253   55 509   67 869   79 1332
31½ 103   43½ 262   55½ 522   67½ 886   79½ 1353
32 108   44 271   56 535   68 903   80 1374
32½ 113   44½ 279   56½ 548   68½ 921   80½ 1396
33 118   45 288   57 562   69 939   81 1418
33½ 123   45½ 297   57½ 575   69½ 957   81½ 1440
34 128   46 307   58 589   70 975   82 1463
34½ 133   46½ 317   58½ 603   70½ 993   82½ 1485
35 139   47 327   59 618   70 1011   83 1508
35½ 145   47½ 337   59½ 632   71½ 1030   83½ 1531
36 151   48 347   60 647   72 1049   84 1555
36½ 157   48½ 358   60½ 661   72½ 1068   84½ 1578
37 163   49 369   61 676   73 1087   85 1601
37½ 169   49½ 379   61½ 691   73½ 1107   85½ 1624
38 176   50 390   62 707   74 1127   86 1648
38½ 183   50½ 401   62½ 722   74½ 1147   86½ 1672
39 190   51 412   63 737   75 1167   87 1697
39½ 197   51½ 424   63½ 753   75½ 1186   87½ 1721
40 205   52 436   64 770   76 1205   88 1745
40½ 212   52½ 448   64½ 786   76½ 1226   88½ 1770
41 220   53 460   65 802   77 1247   89 1796
41½ 228   53½ 472   65½ 818   77½ 1267   89½ 1821
Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#

 

heartgirth-weightchart

Click on chart thumb to download a free printable
Beef Cattle Weight Chart.

 

Newborn Calf Weight Chart
There are mixed reviews whether heart girth measurements for newborn calf weights are very accurate,
but it might be interesting to experiment with...
There is also a measure tape for newborn calves that uses the foot circumference--Read more here...

Mark & Kathy Chaney, Tellico Plains, Tennessee

Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#   Heart Girth" Weight#
10 5   16 14½   22 41   28 69   34 96
11 6   17 18   23 47   29 73½   35 101
12 7   18 22   24 51   30 76   36 105½
13   19 26   25 55½   31 8   37 110
14 10   20 30   26 60   32 87   38
consider
getting a
new bull
15 12½   21 36   27 64½   33 92½   39

 

There are Livestock Weigh Tapes that can also be used, instead of referring to a chart. Weigh tapes are specially marked to measure the heart girth and convert that measurement to a fairly accurate estimate of the animal’s body weight printed on the tape. Weigh tapes are easy to use and can be utilized effectively for monitoring purposes--especially when used in a consistent manner by the same person. They are inexpensive and can be purchased for beef or dairy cattle (as well as sheep, goats, hogs or horses).

NOTE: Weigh tapes may be used effectively for livestock, but they are not highly accurate for pregnant animals or those with extreme conformational irregularities. Keep a record that you can refer back to over time.

 

Dairy cattle measure tapeNasco Beef Cattle measure tapeLEFT: Beef Cattle Weight Tape. This Nasco brand Tyvek® tape accurately estimates the weight of feeder and beef breeding cattle. One side estimates weights of feed cattle in grades Medium, Good Choice, and Fancy. Opposite side for feeder, beef breeding, and crossbred cattle. 108 inches, for weights from 82 to 1888 lbs. Beef Cattle Weigh Tape, Coburn brand.

RIGHT: Dairy Cattle measure tape, Weigh-by-Breed Weigh Tape, highly accurate, easy to use, Coburn brand, made of Tyvek® material. Side sewn, 108 inches long x 1 inch wide. Will not rip, rot, or mildew.

 

cals.arizona.edu: pdf. How Much Does Your Animal Weigh? Susan Pater, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Cochise County

another good weight tape: enasco tape $4

 


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SOURCES:
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
4-H Youth Development, University of Arizona
Beef Improvement Federation of North America
Tractor Supply Company
Texas A & M University
Vision Systems
Enasco