The recording of livestock should not be taken for granted. Every farmer should use this practice. Records are not only used to identify animals, but also to select animals based on production levels. As a farmer, we want animals that are productive and yield a calf every year (or as often as possible).
Beautiful herd drinking water.
They say a record system should only include data which can be used. But I say, it’s better to have as much data as possible. Perhaps, in the future, a great use for the data will be established.
The type of record one collects depends on what production system or line of farming one is involved in. The diary farmer will have much different record than a beef producer (which can further be oxen production systems, weaner production systems etc).
I really suggest that as a farmer, YOU sit down and think long and hard what data you need to record.
The following are the registers that I keep on the farm:
- Cow register and breeding/mating register and vaccination register in one.
· The main aim of my cow register is to be able to check the productivity of a cow. Immediately. When a cow is not productive, I can determine that from my records and waste no time in getting rid of her.
· Record the ear tag. Every tag is unique for every cow.
· If the cattle are serviced by a bull, I indicate the month of service so I know when the calf is due.
· Amazingly. Cows usually tent to give birth during round about the same time of the year. For every cow, I know when to expect a calf. Really good for planning purposes.
· I regularly vaccinate against anthrax, black quarter and botulism. I give inject able vitamins as well. This is recorded on the cow register. I also keep record of animals with other problems such as udder problems, joint ill problems. And the treatment of such cases is recorded too.
2. Calve register and vaccination record
· This is the record of all the calves in my herd, together with age, dam and sire, ear tag number and sex.
· The date the calves are born is also important for recording (for breeding and weaning purposes). I do not have breeding camps. Therefore, I have a yearly production of calves. I have divided by production cycle in 3 quarters of the year (January – April is quarter one, May – August is quarter two, September -December is quarter three). I make sure I go to the farm at the end of every quarter (April, August and December) to conduct a thorough assessment on all my livestock. I wean, vaccinate, dehorn, brand, tag and castrate in every quarter. Remember not to wean and vaccinate, brand, dehorn at the same time. This causes excessive stress on the calves and their heath weakens.
· At one of these quarters, before weaning I vaccinate against brucellosis (which is mandatory for 4-11 months old female calves).
· After every quarter I submit my ear tag information to Meatboard for recording into the Namlits database.
3. Tolly or oxen register and vaccination register
4. Heifer register and vaccination register
· I consider a heifer anything female of the ages between weaning and bull servicing. I have a separate record book for this category.
· I also vaccinate annually against anthrax, black quarter, botulism and inject able vitamins.
Templates are all over the net that can help you. Some people used computer software tailor made for their needs.
Recording is a good practice. It saves me money and time. Most importantly I can plan ahead. I can do some stuff without actually being at the farm.