Managing livestock can be an enormous challenge, even for seasoned farm owners. From managing animal husbandry to raise generations of healthy and productive livestock to tracking groups, managing feed schedules, providing veterinary care, and more, effective livestock management requires constant effort and attention to detail. Livestock management software can help farmers/ranchers take control of their livestock production processes to better control costs, improve sustainability, and fuel growth for their livestock-related enterprises.
What Is Livestock Management Software?
Livestock management software is the term for software that enables farms or livestock businesses to track, record, manage, and care for a variety of livestock. Different livestock management products may specialize in caring for particular animal types (such as cattle, swine, or poultry) or be more broadly applicable to all livestock to cover the needs of farmers with multiple livestock enterprises.
Some features of livestock management software to look for include:
- Group Tracking. A livestock management system should enable you to track groups of livestock—whether it’s poultry, cows, pigs, etc.—so you can more easily trace activity and reports related to specific production groups.
- Feed Optimization. Feeding schedules and nutrition management are crucial to effective and economically-sustainable livestock management. So, livestock management and production software that incorporates feed optimization tools is a must. Between integrating data from feed mills, creating closeout reports that incorporate all production costs, and scheduling feed deliveries, livestock production software feed optimization tools can help farmers and ranchers save tens of thousands of dollars on their livestock feeding program.
- Breeding Records and Optimization. Tracking breeding programs for livestock can be vital for maintaining high quality and ensuring that all of your animal products exhibit all of the desirable traits you’re breeding for. An ideal breeding management system can track genetic nuclei and commercial herd information to give analysis by farm, building, group, bloodline, pen, or individual animal. This allows farmers to “drill down” as deeply into their breeding program as they need to so they can look at and edit information from any report.
- Packer Interfaces. For livestock feeders who are paid based on quality and uniformity, packer interfaces help transfer kill sheet sales, carcass traits, and load distribution data into their livestock management tools to better manage the post-processing lifecycle for their products. This increases traceability and improves cradle-to-grave production management by giving you a complete view of the lifetime cost of every pound of meat, gallon of milk, egg, or other livestock product from farming enterprises.
3 Benefits of Using the Right Livestock Management Software
The use of livestock management software is practically a foregone conclusion for modern farm/ranch operations. With the sheer volume of product farmers need to manage, combined with the regulatory burdens placed on them by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration, and other governmental and industry bodies, farmers need the kind of easy access to livestock data and faster management that software-based solutions provide.
However, not all livestock management and production solutions are created equally. The difference between a generalized business tool that has been loosely adapted to be relevant to farmers and one that was built from the ground up by those who understand the difficulties of managing feed schedules, controlling animal breeding programs, and coordinating veterinary care at scale cannot be overstated (the same holds true for out of the box accounting tools).
Some of the benefits of using dedicated livestock production software made by and for farmers include:
1. Improved Cost Tracking for Profitability Assessments
Any enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can provide a basic solution for tracking inputs and their costs. A dedicated livestock ERP solution breaks your costs down into distinct categories that improve the tracking of inputs, care, overhead, and processing costs for every unit of livestock you produce.
By combining cost reports with sales reports, you can improve cost tracking for every livestock product unit produced—enabling you to better assess the profitability of your livestock enterprises. When integrated into an ERP with accounting records, production costs will be accurate, resulting in precise, real-time animal inventories in accounting.
2. Rolling Projections for Livestock Management Needs
Part of effective livestock management is being able to accurately project your budgetary needs to ensure that you will have enough capital on hand to handle your livestock production costs at every phase. However, it can be difficult to manually compile all of the data needed to accurately project livestock birth rates, unplanned fatality rates, feed consumption, culling numbers, veterinary care costs, and other variables to assess likely budget needs for upcoming months.
However, the right livestock management software can help improve budgeting by creating “rolling forecasts” of expected livestock flow from actual data and your projected productivity targets. A livestock production solution that integrates with your feed tracking and farm accounting software solutions can help you plan and model the downstream expenses you’d need to make in order to meet specific production goals. This rolling forecast simplifies livestock management and production by letting you more easily anticipate how much capital you need to set aside to meet your goals—which is useful for arranging short-term financial resources to cover those costs.
This is useful because, with biological products such as livestock, there is always some variance that you’ll need to make adjustments for in every group on a weekly basis. With predictive analytics for livestock production, you can proactively
3. Enhanced Traceability of Livestock by Group
Traceability is a serious issue for any livestock product. Being able to track animal- and food-borne illnesses back to a specific animal group is crucial for minimizing the impact of product recalls and ensuring the safe removal or quarantine of potentially infected livestock groups.
With a livestock management solution in place that allows you to track every package of meat back to specific livestock groups, you can easily see which groups are generating product recalls and safety issues. This gives you an opportunity to assess the livestock group, the equipment used to process it, and the shipping conditions to analyze each for issues that could be contributing to the spread of diseases.
With this information, you can isolate and dispose of affected livestock before illness can spread to the rest of your farm. This helps improve health and safety while demonstrating to buyers your reliability and dedication to meeting FDA and USDA guidelines.
Find the Right Livestock Management Tools Now!
Are you looking for the right livestock management software to power your farm or ranch’s growth? FBS Systems has the perfect suite of tools to help your whole farming enterprise! From accounting solutions to crop, livestock, financial analysis, operations management, and more, we have the integrated tools you need to drive success and profitability.
Reach out to FBS Systems today to learn how we can grow together!