08 June 2023

How To Choose The Best Cattle Livestock Management Software Program UK?

With the news that Farmplan are to be moving over all their livestock users from Cattle Manager to Herdwatch’s App, we wanted to put together a resource to help farmers find the best livestock management software to suit them

Some live­stock farm­ers sim­ply want an easy-to-use pro­gram that allows them to record all of the nec­es­sary data to be com­pli­ant with reg­u­la­to­ry bod­ies such as BCMS and var­i­ous assur­ance schemes such as Red Tractor. 

Oth­er live­stock or beef farm­ers may be look­ing for cat­tle soft­ware that allows for more in-depth analy­sis of the per­for­mance of their herd to make bet­ter man­age­ment decisions. 

As well as the tra­di­tion­al PC-based cat­tle soft­ware, there are now some pure­ly app-based cat­tle soft­ware pro­grams giv­ing you access through your smart­phone or tablet. Some farm­ers pre­fer being able to view & analyse their herd’s data on a full PC screen where­as oth­ers find it works hav­ing every­thing to hand on their phone.

Which soft­ware you are look­ing for will depend on exact­ly what you want it to do.

What Does Live­stock Man­age­ment Soft­ware do?

Live­stock or herd man­age­ment soft­ware is designed to keep farm­ers com­pli­ant and help them stream­line and auto­mate var­i­ous aspects of their live­stock oper­a­tions. It pro­vides a dig­i­tal solu­tion to effi­cient­ly man­age and mon­i­tor the health, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and over­all well-being of livestock. 

What Are The Key Fea­tures Of Live­stock Man­age­ment Software?

Ani­mal records: The soft­ware allows farm­ers to main­tain detailed records of indi­vid­ual ani­mals, includ­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, pedi­gree, med­ical his­to­ry, weight, breed­ing infor­ma­tion, and oth­er rel­e­vant data.

Health mon­i­tor­ing: Herd man­age­ment soft­ware often includes fea­tures for track­ing and man­ag­ing the health of ani­mals. It may pro­vide tools for record­ing vac­ci­na­tions, med­ica­tions, treat­ments, and vet­eri­nary visits. 

Breed­ing and reproduction: This fea­ture enables farm­ers to man­age breed­ing pro­grams and track breed­ing cycles, bulling dates, and PDs of indi­vid­ual ani­mals. It may include tools for genet­ic analy­sis and pedi­gree track­ing to make informed breed­ing decisions.

Finan­cial and busi­ness management: Some cat­tle man­age­ment soft­ware includes fea­tures for finan­cial track­ing, cost analy­sis, and prof­itabil­i­ty assess­ment. It helps farm­ers mon­i­tor expens­es, income, and over­all finan­cial per­for­mance of their live­stock operations.

Report­ing and analysis: Live­stock man­age­ment soft­ware often gen­er­ates reports and ana­lyt­ics based on the col­lect­ed data. These reports can pro­vide insights into herd per­for­mance such as weight gain, prof­it per­for­mance, health trends, breed­ing effi­cien­cy, and oth­er key met­rics. Such infor­ma­tion can aid in mak­ing informed man­age­ment decisions.

What Should You Look For When Com­par­ing Live­stock Software?

What is impor­tant to you may vary depend­ing on the size of your herd, record-keep­ing pref­er­ences, what infor­ma­tion you need to gain, hard­ware used and your lev­el of experience.

Here are some key points to con­sid­er when mov­ing to a new herd man­age­ment tool.

  • Ease of Use:
    When pur­chas­ing a new live­stock pro­gram or app, you want to feel con­fi­dent using it. It is impor­tant you find it sim­ple to oper­ate and you can eas­i­ly use all the fea­tures you require. If there are aspects of it you find con­fus­ing or com­pli­cat­ed it may not be worth pay­ing for all those extra fea­tures. It is always a good idea to get a demon­stra­tion of the pro­gram before you purchase.
  • Price:
    Some cat­tle soft­ware is priced on an on-going month­ly or year­ly basis where­as there are still oth­ers, like Total Beef, that are based on a one-off pur­chase fee. If you are com­par­ing pro­grams, it is a good idea to do a 5 year cost com­par­i­son as this will give you a more real­is­tic idea of their costs over the long-term. Some that may appear cheap­er in the short-term can also work out more cost­ly over a longer period.
  • Fea­tures:
    Per­haps write a list of all the essen­tial fea­tures you will need – do you need fer­til­i­ty reports or in-depth prof­it analy­sis? Or per­haps it is imper­a­tive the soft­ware links with your cur­rent weigh­ing machines. Some com­pa­nies such as ours offer starter’ pack­ages which may be more suit­able if you are look­ing for just the basics in terms of cat­tle records.
  • Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty:
    Check the soft­ware you are look­ing at is com­pat­i­ble with the rest of your record keep­ing on your farm such as EID read­ers, weighers and pass­port bar­code scan­ners. Some live­stock man­age­ment pro­grams also link with accounts pro­grams which can save you valu­able data entry time and ensure accu­ra­cy of data.
  • Move­ment of cur­rent data:
    If you are mov­ing from a dif­fer­ent soft­ware sup­pli­er, always check if parts of your exist­ing data can be moved across as you don’t want to lose any pre­cious infor­ma­tion and have to start from scratch. Some soft­ware com­pa­nies charge a fee for doing so. We are cur­rent­ly offer­ing this free of charge.
  • Mobile acces­si­bil­i­ty:
    Many live­stock man­age­ment soft­ware solu­tions offer mobile appli­ca­tions or cloud-based plat­forms, allow­ing farm­ers to access and update data from any­where using their smart­phones or tablets. If this is impor­tant to you, make sure the soft­ware you choose has an option­al mobile app.
  • Sup­port:
    Always check what soft­ware sup­port is avail­able. You want to choose a com­pa­ny who has an expert team based in the UK that you can eas­i­ly con­tact when­ev­er you inevitably encounter ques­tions. It may also be worth check­ing how many updates they do a year to ensure the pro­gram will always be current.

Check out the handy check­list we have put togeth­er for pur­chas­ing new farm software 

Why Total Beef May Be The Best Cat­tle Man­age­ment Option For You

Here at SUM-IT we are real­ly proud of our Total Beef Pro­gram and feel like it ticks all the box­es for cat­tle farm­ers look­ing for an all-round prac­ti­cal live­stock man­age­ment sys­tem. Here’s why:

  • Option to choose the afford­able Starter option which cov­ers all the essen­tial record keep­ing and leg­isla­tive aspects at a low cost
  • Sim­ple to nav­i­gate, input data and analyse information
  • In-depth report­ing allow­ing you to view down to profit/​day and profit/​kg
  • Link with Elec­tron­ic ID read­ers, Weighers and Bar­code Scanners 
  • Option­al smart­phone app to take your data with you when­ev­er you go – also works offline
  • Option­al­ly inte­grates with Total Accounts pro­gram allow­ing reduced data entry and more accu­rate costings
  • Ded­i­cat­ed expert UK sup­port team who sort out any queries straight away over the phone
  • One-off pur­chase fee (from £345 + VAT) with afford­able annu­al sup­port costs from just £70 + VAT per year

Check out all its’ features.

SPE­CIAL MIGRA­TION OFFER: Call­ing all Farm­plan Cat­tle Man­ag­er Users, we are offer­ing a spe­cial 30% migra­tion dis­count and your data pre­pared from BCMS for free when you move to Total Beef. Book a free demo today or call us on 01844 213003.

Why PC-Based Cat­tle Man­age­ment Soft­ware May Be More Ben­e­fi­cial Than Pure­ly App-Based Live­stock Software

Many live­stock man­age­ment soft­ware pro­grams are now mov­ing over to sole­ly app-based sys­tems. Although this offers the obvi­ous ben­e­fit of being able to have access to your data out and about on the farm, is it real­ly the way forward?

PC-based live­stock soft­ware such as Total Beef offered by our­selves, gives users the abil­i­ty to view all their herd’s data on a large screen. This makes it a lot eas­i­er to view things such as reports and graphs as well as view­ing large amounts of infor­ma­tion on one page.

Being PC-based means it is often eas­i­er to input or amend data as you have access to a whole key­board and large screen as opposed to just a small phone or tablet. Anoth­er ben­e­fit of desk­top or PC-based farm soft­ware is that they can be faster, more respon­sive and reli­able as they are not reliant on inter­net con­nec­tiv­i­ty, which can be patchy at the best of times in rur­al areas.

Here at SUM-IT we ful­ly believe that hav­ing your farm’s data on your office PC or lap­top offers the best user expe­ri­ence if you want to get the most from your data. How­ev­er, we do acknowl­edge the ben­e­fits of hav­ing your data to hand when you are out and about on the farm. That is why we have devel­oped option­al farm man­age­ment apps to go along­side our main pro­grams. This gives users the flex­i­bil­i­ty of being able to view and manip­u­late their data both on the office large screen and on their phone or tablet.

We are cur­rent­ly offer­ing free demos of our live­stock soft­ware to give peo­ple a chance to see for them­selves exact­ly what it offers. Book your free demo today – see­ing is believ­ing!