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Honored Advisor

Records for beef cattle??

We have decided to re-enter beef cattle production. This mostly involves making better use of 400 acres of fenced pasture and open hay land. After an irrigation extension is installed next week, we will have about a fourth of that irrigated from our hog lagoons.

I know this is a crazy expensive time to be buying breeding stock. It is what it is...we feel waiting will not make that part any less painful. The money is earning zilch in the savings accounts anyway.

We ran a few beef cows 20 years ago, mostly to use marginal acres too hilly to farm on Mike's place in VA. Now, all of our open land is in forages, with cash crops like peanuts and tobacco bought out. We really didn't need records for the few animals back then...heading for what I think will eventually be 75-100 brood cows, and all of them will be basically black, we will not be able to say, " Daisy had a calf last night."

I am not the best computer geek. Quickbooks Simple version is about my speed. I have Excel, of course, but not many skills with it. Wondering what programs might suffice for a simple cow-calf operation. I have kept full farrowing records for about this many sows on index cards, and could be as happy using cards for the cows, too.

Any comments to help me get started right would be greatly appreciated.
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10 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

I'll try and include a few website for computer based.   We use a numbered tag in the cows, place the same number in the calf and keep it all in a note book.  I did sit up an excel spreadsheet but I don't use it anymore, because I was the only one that used the computer to look at it, so it was a lot of records for nothing in my opinion.   

 

 

cattlepro.com 

 

cattleworks.com

 

cattlemax.com

 

Just google cattle software and there are some more that come up.    

 

Not for sure what you want to keep records for.   I mean are you going to cull cows on production history?   Keep weaning weights??

Are you going to retain your own heifers, or bulls, then records are a must.     

 

To me unless your going to use the records there is no use keeping them.  That was my thing,  I would keep all kinds of numbers, but no one would listen to me when it came to culling cows, so why keep them?       

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Senior Contributor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

You could adapt highyield's system to include the last two digits of the year to know how old a cow is too and from what cow she came from. Like he said, it all depends on how complicated you want it to be.

 

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bioTrack
Visitor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

One program that has not been mentioned yet is bioTrack.  It is a internet based program that allows you to access your data anytime, anywhere internet connection is available.  The program automatically upgrades so there is no additonal fees to get the newest version. You can manage your data your way for quick identification to help make decisions on culling, marketing and breeding. It has features to manage medications, health, and feed.  It provides benchmarking tool to compare over the years as well as weekly genetic evaluations on your animals.  

 

If you are good with excel you can upload animals into the program through data exchange.  This also allows capability if using any type of wands or readers to take the information and import into your account.  If you are using a smartphone with internet connectioin you can enter your data right in the pature or barn into your account.

 

The other benefit is friendly customer support team who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

 

bioTrack can work in connection with another program we offer bioLinks which takes the traceability of an animal right to a consumers plate.

 

Check out our website:

http://bridgingintelligence.com/home.aspx

 

We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

Seems the business is a little like moma sows - it isn't always the most refined animal in the herd that retains the best ROI - in our book the 1100 lb. wt. 2nd calf heifer is an easyier keeper than a 1400 - gentics can be very interesting - having Seattle Slough in the stable doesn't mean " Mint Jelops " for each off spring --- 

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bioTrack
Visitor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

The nice thing about bioTrack is that it is not solely a genetics program. Genetic evaluations are just an added value to the program.  Not every producer collects and inputs required information to have genetic values on their animals.  We do have a number of different types of reports in the program. The cow productivity report would also help base management decisions on how well the animal is performing in the herd and her calving history.  Currently bioTrack is available for beef, sheep and goats and genetic evaluations are available for all three but they all have productivity and history reports you can view to help make your decisions.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

Kaye -Fly controll seems to be a challange in our summer months ---

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Senior Contributor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

I used to have almost that many cows and never kept records. I was in a similar situation to high yields. If I had time to keep records I rarely had time to do anything about it. It was the third or fourth iron in the fire. Does it really matter if a calf was born March 1 or just that it was around the first of march.
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Highlighted
Senior Contributor

Re: Records for beef cattle??

I keep records in my silage tractor. All by tag number on when a cow had her calf and if there were any issues. While I'm feeding in the mornings, I ride around to any cow that didn't come to the trough. She either just had one or is about to.
A touch over 200 mommas but I still have names for some of them. The last cow remaining that's 1/4 longhorn doesn't need a tag. An old bald face that I pulled her 1st two seasons of calves out doesn't need one either. She turned out to be a money maker. Another with ears that froze off one winter doesn't even have a place for a tag. But I know her Smiley Happy
Toward the end of calving, I'll look through my lists as to which cows are late or completely open and spend a few hours and check on those girls. Come June when I gather everyone to vacc and cut, I pay close attention to those same cows and cull what I want while they are trapped. I'm sure it's not computer fancy, but my system works and allows me to compare year after year results on the same herd.
Same as row crop or a New York stock broker, good records make good money!
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philepb
Member

Re: Records for beef cattle??

I've noticed everywhere in the US the beef production is going down. How can we increase beef production.

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