What is Livestock Shrinkage and Why is it Important?

Published on Fri, 05/27/2022 - 11:39am

What is Livestock Shrinkage and Why is it Important?

 Article courtesy of Rice Lake Weighing Systems.

 What is shrink?
Minimizing shrink is essential when selling livestock, whether that’s cattle, goats, sheep or anything in between. The term “shrink” is used in many industries. In logistics, shrink refers to the difference between inventory recorded at the point of pickup and actual inventory delivered to the destination. This difference could be due to damaged goods, misplaced inventory or human error.

When selling livestock, shrink is very similar. Cattle leave the seller at a certain weight and arrive at the destination weighing less. Depending on travel distance, weather and other stress factors, animals can lose significant weight during transport. Sometimes even up to 8% of their weight.

Why is it important and how do I reduce it?
Imagine you’re selling 100 head of cattle at $1.75 per pound. If each animal weighs 800 pounds, then the total weight for these animals would be 80,000 pounds with a total selling price of $140,000.  If the animals are transported to an off-site scale you could expect shrink loss to be around 7%, meaning you would lose $9,800 on this sale.
Owning your own scale or bringing the scale to the animals is the best way to reduce shrink and the overall economic impact to a rancher’s bottom line.

If your cattle are being weighed onsite, you are lowering their shrink to only 2 or 3% and you minimize the stress on the animal. Typically, this 2 or 3% accounts for the content of the animal’s digestive system, called fill. In this case, selling at only 3% shrink, means you save $5,000 per 100 animals when you weigh them on your farm instead of offsite.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems’ has a variety of livestock scales to choose from. Rice Lake has tailored some of the most durable products to meet the specific needs of the farming and agriculture industry. By choosing a mobile or portable livestock scale, you have more options for scale locations and greater control over shrink.

You can learn more about reducing shrink with onsite livestock scales at ricelake.com/livestock