With mandatory USDA Animal Disease Traceability rules on the horizon, livestock management software has become more than useful, it has become necessary.
According to a USDA announcement, official electronic radio-frequency identification ear tags will be required as of Jan. 21, 2023. Fortunately, there are already several software platforms from which producers can choose what is best for their operation.
The Livestocked app, by Livestocked LLC, is rated as one of the top eight software apps for cattle producers. It offers multi-species and multi-breed herd and flock management.
“Our app is not just herd management software,” said James Cullis, marketing specialist for Livestocked. “It’s business software.”
It is set-up to facilitate EID (840 tags) and simplifies cross-farm traceability. The software can also put QR codes on packing beef, he said.
Another top livestock app is the Agritec app by Agritec Software. Primarily a swine operation app, Agritec can be adjusted for many livestock species.
“Our biggest market is swine,” said Barb Jesse, sales and support for Agritec. “The user can modify it for different species: Dairy, sheep, cattle, even rabbits (in Europe that’s a thing).”
While not RFID-ready initially, the tremendous flexibility of the app allows it to become EID-adaptable, she said.
CattleMax, by CattleMax software, is an industry leader in using EID with USDA regulations, said Kristen Evans, software support representative for CattleMax.
“Our app works with EID via an Excel file,” she said. “The CattleMax app also works with Tru-Test gear and Allflex Livestock Monitoring platforms.”
While all three applications are capable of complying with USDA regulations, each company offers distinct differences to ranchers, as well.
Cullis said Livestocked, which is focused on grazing operations, approaches herd management from the business side of things. Producers can track how much money each animal has invested in it.
“A lot of people don’t know how much and where money is going into their cattle,” he said. “Understanding costs is key to a successful operation.”
Jesse said Agritec allows producers to customize data reports to their specific operation, location and breed.
Mostly for cow-calf operations, CattleMax prides itself on being cattle producers working for cattle producers, Evans said.
“We’ve had 21 years in the business. There’s not a problem our customers face that one our staff hasn’t faced,” she said. “We are all working ranchers. I use CattleMax on my herd.”
Flexibility is the trademark for Agritec, Jesse said. Producers can customize and modify reports and different methods of updating data. They can install the app on their own computer or use cloud-based storage.
“They get a virtual desktop,” Jesse said. “It would also include a website address.”
Livestocked also has cloud service for housing data, Cullis said. With their app, producers can track how many head were on a pasture and for how long over the past year. It also has feed management capabilities.
Detailed reports about treatments, processing, health records and breeding can be generated.
“Every time you tell the system what you’ve done, it records that info in several separate data boxes,” Cullis said. “You can recall that data in various sets.”
With CattleMax, everything is cloud-based. The app will record all the basic information cow-calf operations need to track, including herd rotation and the all-important breeding records.
“The data goes into Excel files and does group updates. Ranchers can group cattle into whatever sets need to be tracked together,” Evans said. “It can work with commercial herds and registered herds or a mix.”
If ranchers wish, they can download the Tagmax app. It is a free app and an off-line tool, Evans said. TagMax is an app that is designed for the Allflex RS420 stick reader and LPR EID readers. This gives ranchers the ability to scan data quickly, she said.
Livestocked has a mobile app that allows a producers phone to automatically compile data as the cattle move through the chute, Cullis said.
“Our mobile app is a time saver in the yard,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to simplify for yard-work and collecting max data in real-time.”
Jon Burleson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.