Cattle Records

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We sold a few calves this past week. I was inputting the calves info in to my spreadsheet and though I might share how I do it for a very basic operation. Its not the best way for every one but might spur an idea for your own operation or save learning it the hard way (like I did). I just use excel because I am comfortable with it and its totally customizable.

As a general layout I start with a tab for each property. Tab(1) may say The Farm, (2) Joe's Place, (3) Creek Pasture, etc. Each tab will have columns starting left to right with the cows number, the calfs #, calf description (bwb, bws, rwh), the sire(s), a description of the cow, a couple blanks for notes, and lastly, the date the calf was born on the far right.

The next tab after the individual properties is a bull tab with the bulls, past and present. It will have their info and a code for each bull. The first Angus was A1, 2nd A2, Hereford is H1, H2, H3.

Next is a total cow tab with every cow in production listed top to bottom in rows. It will have her dam, sire, dob and description. After that will start years running left to right in columns. This is the important part for me. Every calf gets a block under that year. You start at the left and find the row for cow number 1. Slide to the right until your hit he column for 2022. It will have the mo/yr the calf was born with the sire code. I am working on the color coding on that square. I use to do blue for bulls and pink for heifers because I liked tracking the males and females. This year I have started color coding the squares off of lb/d of gain. I may end up with a hybrid where text is one and box color is another. Each calf gets a note that basically says exact dob, date sold, weight, desc, lbs/d of gain.

Two things very important to me, in that tab, is that I can quickly scan cows and see if they are breeding back in a reasonable time, even if they are not synced up. The second is the lbs per day. Its a little slow right now because it is in notes, which is the reason for color coding.

This very basic spreadsheet has come in very handy when it comes to culling cows and gauging performance. I have had issues with cows have bad bags later in life or feet or what ever and I have been able to track back and hit their offspring if any were kept. I have also kept heifers that were maybe not the most eye appealing but had a history of producing large gains. Obviously age plays a big role also when we go in to droughts. A couple years back every thing over 10 yrs old went. No questions asked. One of the biggest things I have seen is the improvements in weaning weights. We were holding calves 7 and 8 months to get to weights we hit at 6 mo now.

You still have to go in to the field and apply things like size of the cow, conditions, etc. I drop in as many notes as possible so when I have to look back I have some thing to work from. Im not a person that lives and dies by these numbers, but coming from an operation where every thing was done off the eye, I do find peace in in culling, buying bulls, retaining heifers, etc when I have some data to accompany those decisions. This basic sheet was used to justify some spending to the guy I work for and are... slowly lol... being used to make some changes in the way my family operates, also.

There are some other tabs for heifers, annual expenses, and other things I track but the others are the main ones.

I put this spreadsheet in the same category as expenses. Expenses with out performance and vice versa is only half the story, IMO.

I would also like to hear any things yall chart that yall have found helpful.
 
Wow, just wow. Most people in my area cant even tell me how many cows they have or how many have calved in the last 2 years. I keep records but not nearly as good as you are.
 
Wow, just wow. Most people in my area cant even tell me how many cows they have or how many have calved in the last 2 years. I keep records but not nearly as good as you are.
I was told on here a few years ago that it was not the done thing to ask a man how many cows he had, a bit like asking how much he had in his bank account Kenny.

Ken
 
Sounds like a very good innovative system Brute. I wish I was up to doing something like that, fortunately having only 35 cows calving plus a group of retained heifers I can keep track of things reasonably swell by basically keeping my records in diaries and work books. While my head doesn't handle organization very well it does have a good feel for what cows do well but low numbers are in my favor.
Damn, I just told everyone how many cows I have and what I am worth.

Ken
 
Wow, just wow. Most people in my area cant even tell me how many cows they have or how many have calved in the last 2 years. I keep records but not nearly as good as you are.
That's how it is with my family. If I go to a place and ask my dad, how many cows are suppose to be here, I get a range, not a specific number. 😄
 
Very similar to what I do. And I include a tab specifically for calving that is sorted by calculated due date (which is about 50% of the cows 'cuz the bulls are primarily stealth, night breeders), date they actually calved, and their calving history/date. So, one glance tells me if she's consistent, falling behind or gaining. I only started doing that 7 years ago so not a complete history, but helpful. Plus, I moved calving back a month because I was tired of frozen ears.

Number/Name/Tag Color2023 Calculated2023 Calved2022 Calved2021 Calved2020 Calved2019 Calved2018 Calved2017 Calved2016 CalvedCalf Number/Name/Tag ColorColorBull, HeiferSire
328E Spud2/26/232/22/223/15/213/5/204328E RussetBB8308 Willy, T&M Reserve
604 Dolly3/1/233/8/223/14/213/13/204/7/195604 BarbieBH8330 Woody2, TM Chisum
727B Boeing3/1/232/24/223/12/213727B JetB/WB8330 Woody2, TM Chisum
501 Kubie3/3/232/27/223/27/212/29/202/26/192/24/186501 MarkBB8308 Willy, T&M Reserve
833 Windy3/3/232/28/223/23/213833 StormyBB8330 Woody2, TM Chisum
4333 Faith3/21/233/4/232/26/223/14/2134333 HopeB/WH8308 Willy, T&M Reserve
401C Clover3/4/234/4/224/11/213/10/204/18/195401C ChloeBH8308 Willy, T&M Reserve
28E Tator Tot3/7/233/5/232/22/223/12/213/8/203/5/193/2/183/3/173/25/16828E TurdBB8330 Woody2, TM Chisum
4A Bebe3/5/233/4/223/22/213/5/203/7/193/9/182/20/172/27/161204 Beth DuttonBH8308 Willy, T&M Reserve
5K Piper3/9/233/6/233/4/22205K PeckBH8330 Woody2, TM Chisum
2D My Funny Valentine3/8/233/1/223/24/213/17/203/14/193/28/182/26/173/11/16902D VioletBH8330 Woody2, TM Chisum
 
Being as my cows are all one and done I don't keep records that would run from one year to the next. I have a legal pad where I write cow number, date of calf birth, sex and color. Calves all get the same number ear tag as the cows. Cows are tagged in the order they are bought starting with #1. Except this year I had some left over tags to use up. So I tagged 1 to 25 and then jumped to the left over tags before using #26. I do keep track of how much I paid and the weight of the cows. This is mainly so I can figure my averages.
 
Thanks. It didn't copy/paste how I wanted and it's color coded. This shows just the 1st 10 days of calving this year. I also use it to help decide which heifers to retain, based on the dams calving history. Spud kicked off calving this year; she's Tator's 3rd calf, they calved the same day last year, her sisters calved the following week and Spud's 2nd calf (1st calf heifer this year) calved 2 weeks later. Prolific, consistent lineage!
 
Thanks. It didn't copy/paste how I wanted and it's color coded. This shows just the 1st 10 days of calving this year. I also use it to help decide which heifers to retain, based on the dams calving history. Spud kicked off calving this year; she's Tator's 3rd calf, they calved the same day last year, her sisters calved the following week and Spud's 2nd calf (1st calf heifer this year) calved 2 weeks later. Prolific, consistent lineage!
Definitely.

I think that is some thing that needs to be added to the heifer retention discussions on here. If you are a passive breeder, meaning you do not keep records of their performance, then you are probably just as well buying from the AB or a seller. But, if you are active in that data, I do think you can beat the market.

I don't know of a commercial seller or AB that can, or will, give you that data.
 
We use Cattlemax software and really like it. There is lots of features and I don't use them all. There is some cost I think it is $150 a year for a registered herd and maybe some less for commercial herd but doesn't have quite as many options.
 
We use Cattlemax software and really like it. There is lots of features and I don't use them all. There is some cost I think it is $150 a year for a registered herd and maybe some less for commercial herd but doesn't have quite as many options.
I too use CattleMax for my small herd of Angus seedstock of 21. I pay $20 per month. I'm not sure, but I think that price is good for under 100 animals. I like it a lot.
 
I don't know of a commercial seller or AB that can, or will, give you that data.
Precisely why now, every cow I have was born & raised on this ranch. Started off with 33 bred cows and built, culled and refined from there. On the rare occasion I do sell one of my cows private treaty, the seller gets her entire history. But that's just how I roll. Anal, much?;)
 
Precisely why now, every cow I have was born & raised on this ranch. Started off with 33 bred cows and built, culled and refined from there. On the rare occasion I do sell one of my cows private treaty, the seller gets her entire history. But that's just how I roll. Anal, much?;)
I know the feeling. 😄
 
Precisely why now, every cow I have was born & raised on this ranch. Started off with 33 bred cows and built, culled and refined from there. On the rare occasion I do sell one of my cows private treaty, the seller gets her entire history. But that's just how I roll. Anal, much?;)
I also sell privately, & give the buyer the cow/steer/bull/heifer history sheet with a picture attached. My record keeping is almost identical to Brute 23's. I keep my records in a binder which I take to the pasture with me. I do most of my record keeping in the pasture while I'm hanging out with the cows.
 

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