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Integrating mobile apps into ranch management

Robyn Scherer Published on 24 December 2012
Man with cellphone

Technology in agriculture has made leaps and bounds in the last several years.

Gone are the days of notebooks and pencils.

Now, farmers and ranchers can receive real-time data on the tractor and from their phone.

Using applications on a smart phone is one of the best ways cattlemen can use technology to their advantage.

There are many applications out there, and producers need to be aware of the pros and cons of each app, as well as the price, before they make the decision on which applications to purchase. The following is a list of five helpful apps around the ranch.

iLivestockMgr screenshot

iCattleLog or iLivestockMgr

These are two applications that are produced by the same developer, iSimpleTypeApp. Both applications offer the ability to input data such as animal I.D., name, gender, sire/dam/surrogate, birth date, birth weight, breeder, weaning date/weight, photo/PDF email, GPS information, and pasture management.

Producers can use this application to monitor everything with their cows.

They can input breeding, calving, vaccinations and other treatments and any other info they feel is helpful.

iLivestockMgr is a bigger program, with users having the ability to enter in information for several different species.

“iLivestockMgr is a tool to help manage horses, pigs, goats, cows, sheep, poultry and other livestock in agricultural environments, with the intent of providing food, textiles, labor, sport or fertilizer to their owners.

It provides over 90 pieces of information about the health, well-being and status of your livestock inventory,” said the developer Rob George.

The application will sync all of the information into iCloud as well. “Your ranch staff can have up-to- date inventory information across multiple devices,” he said.

Cost: iCattle Log is $8.99; iLivestockMgr is $18.99.

Pro Cattle Breeding screenshot

Pro Cattle Breeding

This application, which comes from the developers Smart Farm Apps Ltd, contains various tools a cattleman needs when breeding his herd.

The app offers the ability for producers to record all the major milestones within the breeding cycle, including pre-mating heat, first heat, A.I. date, scan date, pregnancy and due date.

This allows a breeder to create breeding history for every cow in his herd, and show the herd breeding data in a graph form.

Bulls can also be recorded with a code, so producers will know which bull bred which cow.

A rancher can use this app to forecast future feed requirements, see the replacements within the herd, and manage heats easier within the herd.

This app also works offline, which means the rancher does not need Internet access for this application to work. This app also allows users to export their data in CSV format, to be used with other software such as Excel.

Cost: $10.99.

Cattle Talk Mobile screenshot

Cattle Talk Mobile

This application is designed to help cattle producers have up-to-date information about auction prices in 20 different states.

The data comes from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which means it is reliable.

The states currently offered in this app are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

This application is helpful for cow/calf producers, as well as feeders. Cow/calf producers can use it to judge when the best time is to sell their calves, and feeders can use the app to determine when the best time is to buy the calves they want to bring into the feedlot.

Cost: This is a free application.

A barn.

Beef Cattle EPDs

This application offers producers the ability to look up breed average EPDs for many different breeds. This includes Angus, Charolais, Chianina, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Limousin, Maine Anjou, Red Angus, Shorthorn and Simmental cattle.

“See current EPD breed averages included in a percentile breakdown chart and EPD definitions specific to individual breeds,” said the developer Mindy Montgomery.

She continued, “The Beef Cattle EPD Resource Guide App has been created to be used as an educational tool. Establishing a basic beef cattle genetics education is important to help producers make more educated breeding decisions.

Establishing a basic EPD education can lead to the understanding and implementation of new DNA technology in the beef industry.”

This application can be used by seedstock producers, cow/calf producers, backgrounders, feedlot operations and beef processors.

All of the data comes from the breed associations and independent genomic testing companies.

Cost: This application is free.

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Easy Books

No matter how many cattle- specifics apps a producer uses, this is a business app that is a must-have for anyone with their own business.

Easybooks is a professional business bookkeeping, invoicing and time-tracking application.

“Easy Books is ideal for small businesses and ‘one-man bands.’ This app allows you to keep track of all your accounts, including bank accounts, sales and purchase invoices, expenses, earnings and assets (including depreciation).

For bank and credit card accounts, you can reconcile your statements in the app,” according to the developers, Geode Software.

This application also offers producers the ability to generate financial statements, including profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statement and more.

One of the add-on features the application offers is customer invoicing. Producers can generate invoices on the go and e-mailed in PDF form.

“You can set the company logo, addresses, reference, payment terms and so on to customize the invoice for your business,” said the developers.

Cost: Free. Producers can record up to 120 transactions for free. After that, the cost is $29.99 for unlimited transactions, and the cost for customer invoicing is $29.99 as well.  end mark

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