Cattle.com

I'm Finally Using CattleMax

Until recently, our records are sloppy at best.  At one time I took a shot at writing my own cattle management software and I did, it just wasn’t very good.  I would have used something like Cattlemax but they hadn’t launched their online version until late 2011.

I’ve finally taken the step and moved to Cattlemax for our record keeping.

Getting Started

Some background on why the guy that’s made a living off of computers for the past ten years never kept good cattle records on one…

About 10% of our cows go by names (Socks, GP, Kotzuer cow, etc.) and if we bought a cow within the past few years she still goes by her sale ear tag number.  Some cows I’m more like to be able to recognize them by their face than their poorly applied hip brand.  Those cows are all 2006 models and the ones with the worst hip brands are the lower quality ones because I ordered them by quality and the alcohol/dry ice was petering out by the time we got to them.

About half of our cows have no known birthdate.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that we got rid of some 18 year old cows.  Between that age and close to eight years old, I honestly haven’t the slightest clue how old many of the cows are.

Breeds?  We’ve got cattle that are registered Simmental, SimAngus, Angus, Brangus, Brahman, Maine Anjou, Chianina, and Red Angus.

Birthweights?  Yeah, if it's a purebred, maybe.  Sometimes, when a cow has a calf in the brush, we don't even have any idea what SEX the calf is for a week.

I needed something pretty flexible that allowed me to put in detailed records on some cows and nothing more than a number on others.

Cattlemax handles all of it.

The thing that got me to actually start using it though was the bulk entry.  That first step in the process of putting all of the cows into the system always seemed way too daunting a task for a 120 head commercial crossbred herd.  With Cattlemax I was able to enter each cow ID on one line, hit submit, and then go back and enter whatever information I could find over time.  There was no requirement to enter full details on each animal before moving on.  It’s a small thing but frankly, I wouldn’t be using it right now if that weren’t the case.

Usability

Terrell puts on regular online classes to teach people how to use Cattlemax.  I can understand why many ranchers might need to watch one of those classes just because they’re unfamiliar with computers but if you are reading this blog the system is already intuitive enough for you to jump right in.  I haven’t referred to a help section once.

It keeps track of show results for cattle you still own and cattle you’ve sold very easily.

ET work, from flushing a cow to calving out recips is a breeze.

It works with EPDs from just about any breed you can think of and interfaces with most of the breed association systems I checked.

There are numerous ways to setup breeding plans for cows from putting them into groups or adding notes to explicitly setting a desired breeding.

Moving cattle in bulk is simple.

The mobile side of it is extremely helpful.  I can give my brother the login credentials and he can check our information from out in the field just like I can.  There aren’t any apps to download (yes iPhone people, your phone has a browser too) so you don’t have to worry about what type of phone you’re on.  The mobile web interface gives you access to everything you need.

I’m not good at reviews, never have been.  The fact that there’s not much to really critique is about as solid a compliment as I can give.

The long and short of it is that I’ve held back on using herd management software at all for a very long time and now I can’t imagine going back.

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Ken Lyon commented 12/10/2013 6:09:07 PM
I am glad you are enjoying CattleMax Online Jeff. Sounds like you are doing everything right. Give us a call if you ever have any questions we can help you with