Weighing cattle can stress them, slow their weight gain and even lead to injuries. A new laptop-mounted, high-tech cattle-weighing system might help corral those problems.

The ClicRweight CRW-1000 is a tablet-like personal computer with 3-D imaging cameras encased in a metal housing. Carried against the operator’s torso and secured by a neck strap, the unit captures an image of an animal and builds a 3-D model.

“The point, click, and weigh application breaks down the model into thousands of pieces that are processed by algorithms to generate an accurate weight,” says Joey Spicola, Tampa, FL, who developed the system with his son, Joey Jr., and university engineers. “The system can store up to 1,000 past historical weights, which can be uploaded or downloaded to a personal computer or smart phone via a USB port.”

Spicola, a former eastern New Mexico rancher, began to develop the system after he became frustrated that he and his son had to drive cattle to a scale to verify their weight for buyers. “I said, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’ ” Spicola says.

The seed was planted. He and Joey Jr. were eventually joined by engineers from Texas Tech University to develop the laptop unit. Representatives of Eastern Livestock Company, New Albany, IN, showed early interest and have been among those testing the system.

“We’ve worked with them from nearly the beginning,” says David Dufour, an Eastern spokesman. “It puts you in a situation in which you don’t have to put stress on your cattle. In ranches out West, you can drive cattle 25 miles to an area just to get them weighed. Cattle can come up lame or break a leg. That can be prevented by not disrupting what they are doing in their everyday lives.”

Spicola points out that when cattle must be loaded on trucks and hauled to another location for weighing, they can easily become stressed enough to stop eating and drinking. It can take several days for them to regain the weight lost in the process. Plus, there can be extensive labor charges involved driving cattle by horseback and or truck to a scale.

Eastern’s Scott Gibson, a cattle buyer and seller, says the company has tested ClicRweight on cattle on ranches in Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida and other locations. “We want to make sure the system is accurate,” he says. “We’re trying it out under different situations to make sure it matches to a correct weight from a scale. If there is any variance, it’s extremely small.”

“You can take individual weights, group weights or average weights,” Spicola says.

Contact ClicRweight, Dept. FIN, 13014 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. 340, Tampa, FL 33618, 866/460-2941, visit http://www.clicrweight.com/.