For cattle producers, keeping careful and detailed cattle records is as important as keeping good accounting records. Today’s most profitable producers, whether raising seedstock or market cattle, are as data-driven as big-box businesses even though the average producer has fewer than 50 head.
While most producers already keep genetic and weight records in addition to vaccination and health records, one of the newer trends is retaining ownership in the feedlots so that slaughter data is available. That data includes both finishing weight and meat quality, markers for profitability in the cattle industry. A 100 pound difference in a finished animal is a significant factor in profit margin and data driven decisions are invaluable.
Herd quality is not only increased by better bulls but by better mommas. Ownership retention allows finished cattle to be traced back to the best mommas, sires and combinations, information then used to produce optimum replacement heifers. The information also fosters wise culling for those whose calf production performance is substandard.
Perhaps you are considering purchasing a farm or ranch and raising some cattle. Do not be intimidated thinking you’ll have to figure out a way to track this data all on your own. Many cattle producers use readily available assistance products. These include pencil and paper data books, software and PDF files. A good cattleman is not necessarily computer savvy, and the market strives to meet the needs of everyone.