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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!