Information Bulletin — Livestock Auction Scales


Some livestock auction scales may be in use with secondary indicators (scoreboards) where the weight display is locked during the sale and may not be in agreement with the primary scale indicator at all times. The secondary indicator or scoreboard is the weight indication available to the bidders when the primary indication is not available.

In some installations, there may be no indication to the bidder that the scale has returned to zero load after one lot is removed from the scale and before the next lot is moved onto the scale.

These installations may not fully comply with the Measurement Canada requirements.

Measurement Canada Requirements

[Specifications Relating to Non-Automatic Weight Devices (1998)]

The three major concerns to be addressed are summarized below:

  1. Secondary Indicator – Scale indications must be visible to both parties to the transaction. Scales used to buy or sell (livestock) where the primary indicator cannot be seen by the customer are required to have a secondary indicator.
  2. Agreement of Indications – The weight indication of a secondary indicator is required to agree exactly with the weight indication of the primary (digital) weight indicator at all times.
  3. Return to Zero – In order to ensure accurate measurement, the scale must return to a zero weight indication before the start of a subsequent weighing transaction.


While Measurement Canada understands the need for this feature (locked weight on the scoreboard) in the livestock auction industry, we must also ensure that scale installations are in compliance with the requirements. Accordingly, livestock auction operations which use scales are being advised of the following:

  • Existing livestock auction operations, which may not be in full compliance, must take appropriate steps to bring their installations into compliance.
  • Any new livestock auction scale installations must be equipped with a fully complying secondary indicator if the primary indicator is not readily accessible by all parties to the transaction (bidders and sellers).
  • The locked secondary scoreboard will be permitted to remain to facilitate the sale process if a live secondary indicator is also available to allow the bidders to view the actual scale weight at all times.
  • Measurement Canada will work with owners of devices that may not be in full compliance in order to ensure a smooth transition to a fully compliant installation. Owners of devices which may not be in compliance are encouraged to contact Measurement Canada to work out a suitable action plan for bringing the installation into compliance. This will ensure that the installation is not subject to immediate enforcement action and will allow the device owner sufficient time to make the necessary changes.

More Information

If you are not sure if your installation is in compliance, or if you simply need more information, you are encouraged to contact Measurement Canada directly. For other issues regarding your particular installation, your local scale company may be best able to assist you.

For more information, please contact your regional gravimetric specialist.

Eric Klawis
Western Region, Gravimetric Specialist
Tel: 204-983-4722

Dave Bohonos
Ontario Region, Gravimetric Specialist
Tel: 905-741-1570

Michel Belliveau
Eastern Region, Gravimetric Specialist
Tel: 902-426-0559

Luciano Burtini
Senior Program Officer, Gravimetric
Tel: 250-862-6557