More feedlot operators and beef producers are discarding pen and paper in favor of apps, programs, and barn technologies to help manage the health and nutrition of their cattle. The data collection also gives farmers financial insights while staying updated on nutrient needs.
Here is a list of different apps and software available and which works best for differing operation sizes.
TELUS Agriculture’s feedlot platform is a digital integrated feedlot management tool with features that help owners and managers collect and track data on cattle health and production.
The platform offers recommendations from experts, using research and economic modeling to tailor cost-effective rations throughout the cattle’s time in the feedlot. From procurement to sorting cattle pens, experts are available to help managers understand the data collected through TELUS Feedlot Record Management, which uses real-time insights into cattle metabolic events for projections of cattle performance based on research, commodity available, and price to optimize the cost of gain.
At the same time, the Dynamic Sorting feature is a customizable tool to help sort cattle into groups with experts assisting with sorting and marketing strategies.
Works Best: This technology could be ideal for large-scale feedlot operations.
Feedlot Monitoring Software
Iowa State University’s Feedlot Monitoring Software can help farmers efficiently track nutrient requirements and the average daily gain of cattle. The software works best on a Microsoft Windows operating system and is based on the National Research Council requirements for beef cattle.
To get the most out of the software, farmers should include data such as accurate descriptions of cattle, including weights, gender, or treatment of sick animals to help with calculations.
Farmers can also mark down dry matter content daily, weekly, and monthly, which helps the software give input insights into daily feed consumption and nonfeed variable costs. The program can also calculate weight projections, current breakeven values, feed use, health summaries, and closeouts.
Farmers can export data to Excel sheets for more flexibility with analysis. In addition, you can record and save the nutrient composition of your feeds and infinite opportunities to enter various feedstuffs. Not all inputs are required: a producer can select areas of interest for monitoring. This university-developed program costs $600 and is available on a USB flash drive or by download.
Works Best: This program could fit the needs of any cattle feeding operation, from the custom feeder, backgrounder, or commercial feed yard.
The Feed and Pen Rider App
Advanced Livestock Tracker (ALT) software is available via desktop or mobile. On the feed ration front, ALT’s The Feed app allows managers to enter several pens and their rations quickly from anywhere at their fingertips. The software creates daily and real-time reports analyzing feeding, treatment, and pen performance. Feed app users can access a breakeven calculator to help determine prices, expenses, and costs per gain projections.
ALT also has a Pen Rider app, created for feedlot pen riders to access up-to-date cattle information on a mobile device, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of treatment protocols. The app allows timely treatment entries and access to historical treatments based on diagnostic protocols.
Works Best: This Hastings, Nebraska-based software is best suited for the needs of a smaller feedlot.
Accu-Trac and Perfect Pass
Micro Technologies Accu-Trac Office is a real-time integrated feed yard management suite that allows farmers to track moving costs of commodities based on inputs, numerous unique ingredients, and ration-pricing options. Farmers also can deplete inventory on actual loads or theoretical for price predictions.
Another technology of the Micro Technologies family, Perfect Pass, helps feed truck drivers deliver the correct feed ration and precise quantity of feed to the bunk every time. The site-specific technology verifies pen location via GPS and dispenses feed if the truck is at the right pen.
Both Accu-Trac Office and Perfect Pass are available via mobile or desktop app.
Works Best: These systems can work for any size feedlot operation.
Performance Beef is Performance Livestock Analytics’ cloud-based platform that automates on-farm data collection. With the app, farmers can track and change feed rations on a mobile device or tablet using POINT, a scale indicator, which counts every pound of feed loaded and delivered. A farm’s feed and monitoring data can be shared by employees and used anywhere on the farm. The software works best with Apple products and can sync with the POINT scale indicator. The software can create invoices and closeout reports, track individual animal health with assistance from electronic ear tags and a reader, and analyze trends in performance.
The monthly subscription of $195 includes access to all features for the equivalent of roughly a penny per head per day for a 500-head operation.
Works Best: This app can work best for feedlots that identify as small or medium-size to large-scale operations.
Hi-Plains began writing cattle feedlot programs in 1980 on floppy disks. As computer technology progressed, the company adapted its program to suit each new computer software platform. The company’s leading product, Pro Feeder, features prepaid grains, feed finance, cattle notes, and partnership lots. Pro Feeder also has an accounting feature to track all feed, costs, and head days, which is stored by the lot, and create multiple reports by lot or pen. Feed yards can also track medicine and treatments by the lot. The system will generate feed bills and closeout reports that convert to PDF format to share via email.
Pro Feeder can combine with different bunk and animal health technologies and truck scales for feeding, such as the leading Digi-Star TMR tracker system or the Gallagher Scales. There is also a Hi-Plains Pro Mini, which has the same features as the Pro Feeder, just designed for a backgrounder, feed yards, or a large private feed yard.
Works Best: Pro Feeder can work for a small to medium feed yard. Pro mini is best for more private and large-scale yards.
AgResult is a comprehensive cattle management software designed for farmers raising feeder cattle for finishing and on a contracting basis. It also helps organize feed rations and bookkeeping. Whether through the app on your phone or computer, you can get real-time data on feed inventory, costs per pound of grain, and average daily gain. The pricing for the product is a pay-as-you-go model and is based on the number of cattle.
Works Best: This Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based software could work for the needs of a small and medium-scale feedlot.