If you still manage your herd’s dairy records by hand, be aware that computers can make your job easier. Dairy software programs used in herds can save you time by generating different daily activity lists and reports easily and quickly. These reports can be used for many management tasks, including bST treatments, GnRH and PGF shots for Ovsynch cows, pregnancy checklists or hoof trimmings.
Dairy producers must consider the transition to computer software programs as a great investment rather than a painful upgrade. Unfortunately, many producers (even in some large herds) are still spending long hours manually tracking cows and treatments in their herds on a piece of paper. Many times the handwritten notes are hard to read, particularly after a rainy day or after an undesirable coffee spill. That is why farmers must consider using computer programs for record keeping. In contrast, many progressive dairies in the U.S. and around the world now use a computer-based system to record all events and track cows undergoing synchronization programs and many other activities on the dairy. Transitioning to a computer-based record system is not always easy. It takes some time to learn new processes, including data security, frequent data backup, producing correct reports, feeding data into computer, and most importantly, correctly interpreting all of the summaries and graphs produced by the different computer packages. However, once a program is up and running, it will produce accurate reports with space to write comments when necessary.
When selecting a herd management software program, remember: the best computer package is the one you know how to use! Choose one that is easy to understand and will supply you with the records and summaries that you routinely use in your dairy. It’s important that you know how to retrieve any piece of information that will be useful for you and your consultant to make decisions about your management.
Here are some questions to consider when selecting a software package to manage your synchronization program:
Is your software program helping you track reproductive program shots accurately?
It’s important to use a program that fits the specifi c needs for your dairy. Also, make sure that you are able to use the software correctly and to tailor the program’s features to work with your management strategies. If the program doesn’t help you in your daily managment routine, then it is not being used effectively.