Two Types of Cattle Records

Keeping records is a part of the ranching business that is often overlooked but it can be essential to the decision-making process. Records can be as simple as keeping basic inventory to using records to determine and measure herd productivity.

Production Records

Used to record the output of beef from each cattle and the productivity of the land in general, production records collect the day-to-day numbers and information of the ranch. While basic records will help the rancher to keep track of the current conditions of the herd, analyzing this information with the help of cattle herd management software programs can track aspects like nutrition, breeding, cattle health change and how these changes affect herd performance.

Each cow in the herd should be identified with its own unique ID number, and this is especially important when using tracking computer software. The International Year/Letter Code Designations is the recommended system of on-farm identification, in which an individual cow is given a letter based on its birth year followed by a unique string of numbers. Once a cow is assigned, tags should be placed on each ear of the cow or one tag and a tattoo with identical information. The breed and age of each cow in the herd should also be recorded for additional identification purposes.

Financial Records

Whether keeping records of finance for tax reasons or for future decision-making, financial records are a useful tool for farm management. Proper finance records not only allow for the filing of farm/ranch taxes, but can aid the producer in improving profitability. Looking at production costs in conjunction with the production records is key to understanding how different management decisions affect the farm's bottom line.