1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Agriculture/Sale of Cattle by Live Weight

Sale of Cattle by Live Weight.

In connexion with the internal live stock trade of Great Britain attention must be directed to the Markets and Fairs (Weighing of Cattle) Act 1891. The object of this measure is to replace the old-fashioned system of guessing at the weight of an animal by the sounder method of obtaining the exact weight by means of the weighbridge. The grazier buys and sells cattle much less frequently than the butcher buys them, so that the latter is naturally more skilled in estimating the weight of a beast through the use of the eye and the hand. The resort to the weighbridge should put both on an equality, and its use tends to increase. Under the act, as supplemented by an order of the Board of Agriculture in 1905, there were in that year 26 scheduled places in England and 10 in Scotland, or 36 altogether, from which returns were obtained. The numbers of cattle (both fat and store) weighed at scheduled places in 1893 and 1905[1] were respectively 7.59 and 18% of those entering those markets. The numbers for Scotland are greater throughout than those for England, 72% of the fat cattle entering the scheduled markets In Scotland in 19052 having been weighed, while in England the proportion was only 20%. Little use is made of the weighbridge in selling store-cattle, sheep or swine., As the main object of the act is to obtain records of prices, it follows that only in so far as statements of the prices realized, together with the description of the animals involved, are obtained, is the full advantage of the statute secured. In 1905 the average price per cwt. for fat cattle in Great Britain was 32s. 11d. as compared with 35s. 2d. in 1900.

  1. Returns for only ten months were available for this year.

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