Cost / Benefit Analysis

Cost / Benefit Analysis: EID-enabled weigh crate

Sm@RT Platform EU Funding

Tool / Technology: EID-enabled weigh crate

Analysis prepared by (country): UK

Production type the tool/technology is relevant for: Dairy  / Meat / Both

Description of the “benchmark” farm for which the analysis is performed:

Country: UK

Production type:

Mainly outdoors / Housed 0-3 months a year / Housed 4-8 months a year / Mainly indoors

Farm grazing area: ~1,000 ha

Species: Sheep

Number of animals: 700 ewes

Breed: Predominantly Scottish Blackface

Number of staff: 2


Initial set-up

Capital costs (Large items e.g. a weigh crate, auto-drafter, etc.):

 €1 – €500 /  €501- €1,000 /  €1,001-€2,500 /  €2,501-€5,000 / €5,001-€15,000 /  > €15,000

Individual costs (Smaller items e.g. per tag, per sample, per collar):

€1 – €20 / €21- €50 /  €51-€200 / €201-€500 /  > €500

Equipment leasing costs (if not purchased):

 Annual /  Monthly /  Weekly /  €1 – €50 /  €51-€200 /  €201-€500 /  > €500

Lifetime of the technology (approximately how long will it last before needing replaced)?

 1 – 4 weeks /  1-6 months /  6 – 12 months /  1-2 years / 2-5 years / > 5 years

Farm infrastructure requirements:

Decrease / Increase / No change

Percentage of animals within the flock/herd that use/are equipped/take advantage of the technology?


Running costs

Power source requirements (tick all that apply):

Not required / Mains / Battery / Solar / Other

Subscription fee – Needed? Yes / No

If yes

Per flock / herd: Annual €1 – €50

Per individual animal: Monthly €51 – €200

Per unit:Weekly /€201 – €500 / Over €500

Additional licences or permits required? No / Yes – Annual / Yes – Monthly / Yes – Weekly

If yes, cost:

€1 – €50 / €51 – €200 / €201 – €500 / Over €500

Maintenance cost – included in the subscription? Yes / No / Not applicable

If no, cost per month:

€1 – €50 / €51 – €200 / €201 – €500 / Over €500

Maintenance / replacement parts:

Easy to obtain / Difficult to obtain / Not obtainable / Don’t know

Technical / mechanical support provided on farm, after purchase? Yes / No

Training requirements

Training required to install / use? Yes / No

If yes, time range?

Up to an hour / Half day / Full day / More

Additional technical advice required (e.g. advisor time)? Yes / No

Are there additional costs associated with training and/or technical advice? Yes / No


(tick all that apply)


Labour / time saving.

Accuracy of records (health, management, movements etc.).

Management decisions for animal groupings.

Better individual animal management.

Improved medicine use.

Better nutrition / meeting requirements better.

Improved use of feed resource (grazing, concentrates, etc.).

Product quality improvements (e.g. hay, carcass, growth, milk, etc.).

Increased information on production system.

Opportunity for sharing / moving device (more than one location).


Reduced stress to the animal(s).

Improved welfare of the animals(s).

Additional information on animal behaviour.

Information on water intake / water availability.

Information on food intake / food availability.


Compatibility with other devices.

Ease of data transfer to other software.

Easy to use once installed.


Reduced stress to farmer / staff.

Environmental benefits (e.g. reduced wastage, improved biodiversity, etc.)

Helps to attract new entrants in to the small ruminant industries.

Another benefit not listed? Please give details:

Helps to collect individual animal data – performance, presence/absence, health etc.

Welfare benefits – early warning of something wrong based on weight changes.

Useful for recording data for genetic improvement programmes.

Provides an automatic way to identify animals to be culled later in the year – bad lambing, poor mothers, consistently lame etc. (instead of having to use paper records).

Allows farmers to use methods such as the Targeted Selective Treatment (TST) method for worming.

Overall summary:

Ease of use? Scale 1 (Complicated) – 10 (Simple)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Value for money (for this type of benchmark farm)?

Yes / No / Maybe

Recommend this tool/technology for use on other types of farm?

Yes / No / Maybe

Additional comments?

All animals must be tagged with an EID tag to make full use of the weight crate capabilities, therefore tagging lambs as early as possible is worthwhile.

Large initial cost but benefits have been quantified in terms of saved labour and reduced medicine use (just two examples). It will pay for itself after a few years.

There are a range of products available on the market. Simpler versions include using a manual weigh crate combined with an EID-stick and weigh-head. More sophisticated versions include the use of an auto-drafter and a higher specification weigh-head. There are also fixed position and mobile versions available as well.

Dairy Goats Dairy Sheep Meat Sheep
NIBIO Tjøtta – Digifarm Norway
UNISS, Universty of Sassari Department of Agriculture
Le CHIIRPO - Sm@RT Platform
CIIRPO Le Mourier – Digifarm France
Norway Innovative Farm: Elgvasslien, Folldal
Norway Innovative Farm: Oppisto Mjøen, Oppdal
Norway Innovative Farm: Kvalsjord Gård, Oppdal
Norway Innovative farm: Usti Gard, Oppdal
Close Bitnami banner