Is There Really An App For That?

Published on Wed, 10/02/2019 - 9:46am

 Is There Really An App For That?

 By Bruce Derksen

 Cow/Calf producers, technology has truly embraced our industry.  Your mobile device has become a powerful tool whether you go out late at night to check that pregnant heifer or sort those cow calf pairs going to spring pasture.  Just like the new attractions coming to the theater, new and varied agricultural apps are available for your phone, tablet or computer.

While history documentation and calculation depended on the sharpness of memory, paper notebooks and nubs of pencil tucked in the pockets of flannel shirts, today applications can calculate virtually anything and provide answers to practically any agricultural related question.  Instead of a notebook’s soggy paper flecked with raindrops and manure, today’s cattle producer, can discover the price of 500 weight steer calves at the local auction barn or access the EPD’s of that purebred bull that caught their eye on the bull sale advertisement.

The long list of capabilities of today’s cattle production applications offer, but is not limited to: employee management, customer tracking for hay sales, soil profiles, radar weather, construction projects, time tracking, measurement conversion calculators, grain prices, payroll, invoicing, bill tracking, check writing, inventory management, auction prices, calving dates, breeding dates, average daily gains, days on feed, drug dosage recommendations, frame size scoring, truck and trailer stock density, carcass yield, grade calculations and AI semen tank inventory. 

Please check out the following summaries describing some of the Cattle Industries favorite application choices:
Cattle Calculator is an app developed by Mississippi State University Extension Service for both apple and android platforms.  It allows beef cattle producers to make quick everyday calculations important to their operations.

A “reproductive” section allows calculations of calving dates based on a desired date of breeding, or the breeding date for a desired calving date.  It can determine stages of pregnancy and based on input, can pinpoint when to turn bulls out and when to pull them.

The “performance” tab includes numerous capabilities including the calculation of an adjusted birth, weanling and yearling weight, based on actual birth weights, age and weight of dam.  An average daily gain calculator uses weights combined with days on feed, plus an inverse formulation to determine amount of gain per day required to reach a calendar target.
A “management” category features a variety of possibilities including a calculation of drug dosage required using live weight and recommended milliliters or cubic centimeters per specified unit of weight found on the drug label.  This tab can estimate trailer stocking density using trailer length and width plus features an animal frame score computation.  Another tab finds carcass yield grade through various inputs.

CattleSort is also an apple and android based app developed by cow calf producer Kayle Walls of Byers, Colorado.  She designed the app to track data on the cow herd from branding to shipping and everything in between.

“CattleSort replaces the pen and paper that ranchers use when writing down information on cattle,” said Walls.  “CattleSort has a custom voice-controlled keypad with enlarged buttons to make entering animal’s numbers and specific data in the field easier.  You don’t need cell phone service for it to function.”

This app is list dominant.  A pair up feature alerts the user to the potential of missing animals.  A side-by-side list easily lets producers compare numbers from more than one list.  It can divide males and females, or specified colors from a group, and a check-off list can point out which animals are processed, and which are not.  All lists can easily be placed in numerical order.

“Every function within CattleSort came from a firsthand experience involved in ranching and working cattle.  Most people won’t use every function, but if you own livestock and it’s got an ear tag, there will be a function that will make your life easier and more organized,” said Walls.

MaiaGrazing is an easy to use, online grazing management tool that helps ranchers maximize their pastures and profits in the good times and reduce risks when it’s tough.

It is not just a record keeping programme – it’s a decision support tool that analyses farm data to deliver meaningful and relevant information where and when it’s needed.
We understand that the biggest driver of grazing profitability is pasture utilization.

MaiaGrazing helps ranchers make better pasture management decisions by capturing land, animal and rainfall information and providing an instant, real-time update on the farm’s current and projected forage and stock position.

Data can be easily entered via desktop or mobile app while undertaking day-to-day pasture management tasks on the farm and safely backed up to the cloud.