How to Figure Live Weight of Cattle

By Jess Kroll

The weight of live cattle is incredibly important to the pricing of the herd and the yield of beef. While a cattle scale is available it can be expensive and frightening for the cows and this may lead to slower growth. Fortunately a method is available to estimate the weight of a cow by the size of the chest. Using either a specially made tape measure, or a regular tape measure and a conversion chart, you can provide a quick weight range with minimum disturbance.



Keep the cow away from food and water for 12 hours before measuring. This provides a more accurate weight than one which may fluctuate due to water or meal weight.

Place the animal in position with all four legs set square under the body and its head out as normal.

Wrap the measuring tape tightly around the body at the smallest circumference just behind the shoulders.

Check the measuring tape for a size-to-weight conversion. Tapes measure in inches and pounds, for example, a measurement of 42 inches corresponds to approximately 236 pounds. If necessary the measure can also be converted to metric by changing the length in inches to centimeters (1 inch = 2.54 cm) or pounds to kilograms (1 pound = .4536 kg). If using normal tape without the approximate weight consult a conversion guide to move from chest measurement to estimated weight (see Resources).

About the Author

Jess Kroll has been writing since 2005. He has contributed to "Hawaii Independent," "Honolulu Weekly" and "News Drops," as well as numerous websites. His prose, poetry and essays have been published in numerous journals and literary magazines. Kroll holds a Master of Fine Arts in writing from the University of San Francisco.