Being a cattle producer, you must be well aware of the efforts being made by the industry to provide high value, consistent and safe beef to international as well as to the domestic markets. Your consumers today are much more concerned about food safety and animal health. You need to not only provide healthy and safe beef to the market but you need to improve the bottom-line as well. After spending years in the livestock industry as a cattle producer you must have developed a strong understanding of some of the most popular production improvement techniques such as cross-breeding, genetic improvement, nutritional manipulation, and implants. But today, with technology, the industry has been revolutionized. Technologies such as blockchain and traceability are dominating the food and livestock industry. Cattle management software is the perfect tool for you today. It is helping cattle producers like you not only in providing safe, high-quality and consistent beef quality but also in improving the bottom line by providing the consumers the satisfaction they demand. Tracking economic viability of your business while making sure your operations are fully compliant with government and certification schemes is the top feature of this tool!
Why Should You Keep Cattle Records?
Cattle record keeping is one of the most essential parts of managing the beef cattle operation. Here is a list of all the benefits that can be enjoyed by incorporating cattle record keeping practices into your business.
1. Legal Purpose:
With a cattle record keeping software all the necessary information about its origin and health can be extracted which helps in proving that the cattle are being raised in compliance with the standards set by the government or a certified beef program.
The record keeping system boasts amazing financial benefits to your business. It helps in tracking feeding costs. Helping you in drawing up smart economic feeding strategies, paving way for optimal production.
This system makes it easier and convenient for you to keep a record of how much you are earning and overall expenses. Which results in simpler tax calculation and management.
The primary aim of a cattle record keeping software is to gather the analytics so that it can be analyzed and evaluated to draw up certain plans to enhance animal growth and improve the stats of the cattle producing business.
Incorporating this system into your daily operations helps you in monitoring the health of the cattle. It becomes easier to monitor any abnormal conditions due to any diseases. Weight, milk production and consumption of food help in taking quick actions.
The consumers of today demand transparency and visibility in the process through which their food reached their plates. With a cattle record keeping software, you can provide your consumers exactly that, building customer trust by marketing out the feature of transparency.
7. Future Planning:
As this system provides you with a tool to keep a track of the cattle history, origin and the present stats it is easier for you to analyze the herd performances over the years. As a result you can see a clear picture of the profit-loss situation. With this information, you can set future goals and draw up a strategic plan.
Cattle Records That Should Be Kept on the Ranch
Total Beef Herd Performance
Total herd performance is the combined reproductive and growth performance of each animal in the herd. It helps cattle producers to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their animals. Also, it provides a ground to draw up a plan lining the ways through which the growth of the animals can be enhanced and how production can be increased overall.
1. Total growth of all individuals in the herd:
One of the elements in analyzing the total herd performance includes the knowledge of the total growth of all individuals in the herd. It helps in understanding how the techniques being used are affecting the growth of the animals. And if the total growth is not so satisfying, it helps in rectifying the techniques.
2. The number of open cows:
The total number of cows in a herd that is yet to be bred determines future goals for the business. Helping you, as a cattle producer to forecast the prospects.
3. Length of calving season:
The length of the calving season affects cattle producing business significantly. It is during this time the cattle producers must take their cattle to clean pasture grounds for safe calving.
4. Death loss:
Death loss is an inevitable part of cattle farming. Severe livestock death loss may qualify you to receive benefits. Also, death loss stats will help you evaluate your business’ overall performance.
Beef Individual Performance
Individual cow records should be kept when it is economical and practical to do so. Keep the records uncomplicated by recording only necessary observations. The pieces of information that you must keep a record must include:
1. Cow ID:
By keeping a record of individual cow ID will help you evaluate the age of each of the cows and take the necessary steps to provide the required care.
2. Date of first exposure to a bull:
Knowing this information helps to choose the method of breeding; Artificial insemination (AI) or Natural Service (NS). If the latter is selected, you will have to select a bull in order to create the exposure record and enter a start and an end date.
3. Results of pregnancy examination
The results of pregnancy examination are important elements of information. Through these results, you can know about the calving time, this way you can prepare for the situation and address any problems that occur when the time comes.
4. Problems at calving time:
By keeping a record of the problems at calving time such as the birth of a weak calf or a pulled calf will help you plan the process of bringing up the calves. The extra care required and the necessary steps to be taken can be outlined.
Observing and monitoring the health of cattle is important today as the consumers of beef today demand a transparent process and are concerned about the quality of their food. Keeping health records will help you in treating the animals who show deteriorating health or symptoms of the major disease by scheduling vaccines and use of antibiotics.
6. Weaning weight:
Weaning weight is an essential piece of data that must be recorded. It is the information that will help you evaluate the growth potential of calves and the milking ability.
Also Read: How You Can Improve Beef Quality Through Livestock Identification & Traceability Systems
Benefits of Cattle Record Keeping
You must understand that while running a livestock producing business it is essential for you to make use of cattle record keeping because it boasts numerous benefits!
1. Measure and benchmark herd operation:
Record keeping can help you analyze herd performance and operation. It can also help you set benchmarks and plan to achieve what you have planned. Enhancing the performance of your business. It becomes easier to analyze if the growth is within the specified parameters and when an animal is ready to be bred.
2. Analyze output data:
The data gathered can help you in the analysis of business performance. With the use of record keeping, you can plan and strategize to improve the performance and take care of any unstable situations that have the potential to adversely affect your cattle business.
3. Better decision making:
By having all the cattle records in front of you, you will have an edge while taking materialistic decisions because the cattle stats will summarize the overall growth, production, and profits of the business.
4. Regulatory compliance:
Today, it is important that all your animals are raised and fed according to the laws and regulations. As not following these regulations might make you end up paying huge fines and in a result losing the customer trust.
5. Compliance with third-party auditors:
During third-party audits, it becomes easier to provide proof that your animals are being brought up according to the standards and regulations set by the state’s law. When you will have every detail recorded, audits get smoother and compliance becomes easier.
6. Documentation of safety standards:
By recording every piece of information, helps in providing proof that the cattle grown in your farms satisfy all the specifications stated by the law. Through this, you can build a trustable reputation for your business.
Examples of Certified Marketing Programs
1. Source Verification:
Electronic ear tags are a part of source verification which is one of the most prominent examples of certified marketing. Through this program, it becomes easier to extract information about the birthplace of the animal. It is not only being incorporated in the livestock or food industry but is also used in the agriculture industry as well. This program serves as the basis of all other verification programs.
2. Age Verification
One of the most valuable market-driven programs for the US beef industry is Age Verification. Where dentition is the common means for age determination, this program helps in preventing cattle falling out of EV programs. Age verification in combination with source verification is a revolutionary program for the livestock industry.
3. Non-Hormone Treated Cattle:
Another example of certified marketing programs includes the non-hormone treated cattle. It was an agreement between the United States and the European Union to support the trade of non-hormone beef such as veal. The principal components of the program state that the cattle must be grown in farm facilities that have been approved. The second provision includes segregation of non-hormone cattle from beef at the slaughterhouse to prevent them from being mixed with other types of meat. in order to export meet the United States have to fulfill these provisions as it is a requirement of 27 countries.
4. USDA Grass-Fed:
This program sets grass and forage as the sole feed source for cattle for the entire lifetime. Milk can be provided before weaning along with vitamin supplementation from non-grain sources.
5. Verified Natural Beef (VNB):
Through this certified marketing program, allows cattle to be eligible for buyers/brands in search of specialty markets requiring natural beef. Incorporation of this program prohibits a cattle producer from using hormone growth promotants, antibiotics, and animal by-products.
How Cattle Management Software Can Help
To save yourself from the stress of keeping manual records it is best that you incorporate a cattle record keeping software. You might not know but this tool has the potential to work wonders for you. by saving your time, this software helps in cost reduction and improvement of the business performance. With paper-records comes to stress, hassle exposure to high risks of human errors. Using a cattle management software for your business will automatically track the records for you from birth to the packing sector. It tracks the whole processing and you do not even have to put any efforts. It is a smart solution through which you can access the records through a few clicks such as progeny, genetic evaluations, pedigree, health and carcass characteristics. You just have to simply use the livestock record keeping app to enter the data and they are good to go. Enhance the efficiency of your cattle producing business by saving time, allowing data entry through smartphones making the process effective and fast!