Interpretive Summary: Decision Making Tools: BeefTracker mobile app for tracking and analysis of beef herd pasture use and location.
By: Dr. Emily Taylor
In September 2017, Translational Animal Science published an article that reviewed a mobile app for tracking and analyzing beef herd pasture use and location. This web-based mapping system can be used by producers as a tool to demonstrate how cattle production fits within sustainable ecosystems. In addition, regional data will be available to update beef sustainability lifecycle analysis.
As beef operations and total number of cattle per operation increase, keeping track of cattle numbers, class and pasture has become more difficult. Researchers are searching for a way that would allow producers to store and analyze this data with easy accessibility for both the producers and pasture managers. In 2013 the beef checkoff, in conjunction with VESTRA Recourses, Inc. funded research to develop a prototype to address these issues and it is called the “BeefTracker”.
This software will allow producers to set up a unit called an operation. The goal is for producers to be able to add ranches and pastures, adjust inventory, locate improvements as well as archive and retrieve geo-located monitoring data. This system is iPhone based but does have the capabilities of beimg used via the web on a personal computer. Another feature that is a must have, is the ability to access your data and edit livestock inventory when Wi-Fi and cell service is not available.
While this software has the potential as a positive and resourceful tool for producers, it is not void of challenges. The distance between programmers, advisors, users and project leaders for additional help has made it difficult for widespread use of the software. In addition, identifying a consistent user base will remain a challenge.
Overall, the response from producers using the app has been positive. A survey given after having training of the new tool resulted in 83% of producers who received training would continue to utilize the program in the future. The author’s recommendations for moving forward encompassed how crucial it would be to address the above challenges.
To view the full article, "Decision Making Tools: BeefTracker mobile app for tracking and analysis of beef herd pasture use and location," visit Translational Animal Science.