NORTH DUNDAS — Cooke Scales of Chesterville can make that gravity wagon or planter weigh itself, on the fly. And proprietors Matt and Hayley Cooke are now using their own in-house line of onboard-weighing technology — branded as Evoweigh — to make it happen.
Dissatisfied with the quality of kit systems offered by a small number of American vendors in the weigh-as-you-go field — and chagrined by poor cross-border turnaround times after COVID — the Cookes recently started manufacturing their own kits to retrofit a variety of agricultural equipment with onboard scales. They can install their Evoweigh systems on a custom basis or ship direct to mechanically inclined farmers in Canada for self-install. The kits are also available to other Canadian scale company contractors, to serve their respective clients.
“We knew all the components we needed, and so we started making our own stuff,” explains Matt, with 33 years in the weighing trade. He spends much of his time servicing truck scales at grain elevators and industrial sites.
At the heart of each onboard kit — which cost between $4,000 and $10,000 apiece — are the same stainless-steel Chinese-made “load cells” — sometimes known as weigh bars — employed by just about every other industrial scale manufacturer in the world.
Load cells are solid-state devices that measure weight by measuring the minute change in electrical resistance as metal flexes very slightly under pressure.
To these, Matt and Hayley add their own locally made bracketry — with steel sourced from Winchester-based Quintan Products and Dundas Machine — plus their own onboard electronic screen system complete with Evoweigh logo.
The kits are carefully affixed to things like gravity wagons, TMR units and the individual seed bins on planters.
Hayley explains that today’s data-hungry farmer appreciates knowing the rate at which expensive seed is flowing out of their planter, by actual weight. “It helps you to adjust … so you’re not over-seeding or under-seeding. Farmers are monitoring everything.”
And at harvest, farmers “want to know exactly what yields they’re getting, immediately,” says Matt, highlighting the utility of a gravity wagon that displays weight in the field as the combine unloads.
The Cookes’ very first Evoweigh kit was sold just last month and they say orders are piling up, mostly by word of mouth. Hayley says they also fielded four calls after placing an ad in Farmers Forum last month.
“We’ve had a lot of support from local farmers who are trusting us,” Hayley says.
Originally from the UK, Matt and Hayley established Cooke Scales a dozen years ago. Beyond sales and repair, their service includes arranging for official Measurement Canada inspection at truck scales — now mandatory every two years. Matt is a fully accredited inspector.