By: Richard Randle, Beef Extension Veterinarian, University of Nebraska
No one disputes the value of records when it comes to making management decisions that affects the bottom line of an operation. The old adages that "you can’t manage what you can’t measure" and "how do you know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been" rings true for any type of business. Records provide the means to evaluate the effects of changes in management practices on herd productivity. The information gained through tracking changes aids in making logical decisions.
The majority of data collected on a beef cow-calf operation occurs seasonally at herd workings such as pregnancy checking and weaning. However, there is a wealth of data that needs to be collected on an ongoing basis throughout the production year such as breeding data, calving data, health data, death loss, and herd inventories.
The process of evaluating this data often represents a time consuming challenge because most often, these data are collected in the field using paper records which must then be assimilated, transferred, deciphered, validated, and summarized to become useful information. Without uniform, consistent data there can be huge gaps that make meaningful interpretation difficult if not impossible.
A mobile app developed at the University of Nebraska allows data to be collected in the field real-time using mobile devices. Mobile Cattle Tracker allows you to collect and access records when they are needed. With Mobile Cattle Tracker, you can enter calving data, weaning data, pregnancy check data, cow and calf health data, death loss, and culling data. You can email the data collected to yourself or anyone else at any time. The email contains an attachment of the data in a formatted Excel® spreadsheet.
Mobile Cattle Tracker is available for ipads, iphones, android smartphones, and android tablets. You can find Mobile Cattle Tracker at Apple’s App Store and at Google Play Store for $9.99 (the lite version is free).