Change can be intimidating, especially when it involves shifting away from something that’s been done the same way for generations. For farmers and ranchers, the Little Calving Book and excel data mazes have been somewhat of a dynasty in terms of record keeping best practices. But as the livestock industry evolves, so has the demand for more sophisticated data capture. Why? Better data leads to stronger insights. Stronger insights lead to more efficient, sustainable and profitable livestock production.
As producers look to level up their businesses, a search for the “perfect” solution has commenced, yet many aren’t sure where to begin. To aid in the journey, we’ve pulled together nine tips to help get you started in transitioning to digital livestock record keeping.
- Identify the problems you’d like to solve.
Take a look at your business and identify any gaps in data or problems you’re not currently able to solve for. Is it specific, like monitoring water tank levels from afar or wanting up-to-the-minute rainfall readings? Or is something more general, such as wanting to bring all of your livestock and land records under one solution? It may sound obvious, but when beginning your search, taking time to identify your needs will get you started down the right path.
- Focus on smaller goals. They’ll add up.
Refraining from going after your big, visionary business objective can be hard. But we still recommend starting with smaller daily and weekly goals. They’ll build the foundation needed to achieve your overarching objective. For example, if your ultimate goal is to streamline all of your record keeping practices, starting with a weekly goal of habitually recording all of your new livestock, grazing and inventory information in the same place can be a great place to start.
- Consult with your neighbors and network.
You’ve got neighbors and peers, use them. You’re not the first person to experience the current problem you’re trying to solve. AgriWebb, for instance, has over 11,500 livestock leaders worldwide using livestock business management, while Figured is used by many producers for ranch accounting. A neighbor, friend, or ranch consultant has likely used ranch management software and can help you in your search.
- Use the internet – it’s your friend!
Start with a simple Google search on the problem you want to solve and the type of operation you’re running. For instance, you can try searching:
- cattle record keeping
- individual animal management solutions
- livestock tracking app
- ranch management software cattle
- Start a free trial or get a demo.
Ranch management software providers usually offer a 14 or 30-day free trial and/or a full demo of their product. While these trial periods aren’t designed to deliver years of insights or lead to game-changing decisions, they can help you see how the software can fit into your business. Throughout the process, be clear about what you’re hoping to accomplish, and ask any questions you can think of to help you make your decision.
- Find a passionate internal champion.
Once you’ve selected your digital ranch management solution, identify an internal “champion” who is excited to take on change. During the implementation process, equip them to lead the charge on working with the software’s customer success team to learn exactly how the product fits into your business model. Once you have an internal expert, getting the remainder of the team on board will be more fluid.
- Make time for implementation.
The hard truth? There’s never a “perfect” time to adopt a tech solution. But, with intentional planning, you can lower the stress of introducing your new technology into everyday work. Look at your operational calendar and see if there’s a “down time” or season where your chosen tech solution can play a key role in solving your problem. If you’re approaching calving season and want to keep accurate records on genetics, birthing weights, and treatments applied to your calf crop, getting up and running with ranch management software ahead of time can help you and your team experience the benefits right away.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Most ranch management software companies are equipped with customer success and support teams. It’s a good idea to build a relationship with those assigned to your team as they’ll play a pivotal role in ensuring you and your organization are getting the most out of the product. AgriWebb has customer success teams in Australia, United Kingdom and United States. If you’re looking to tackle a question on your own, check out the provided help center and online learning curriculums. These resources are created to support you and your team on a 24-7 basis.
- Habits are formed by consistency.
Muscle memory isn’t formed by using a product sporadically. Dive in and begin incorporating it daily! If you’re investing in a record-keeping solution, start with simple records like movement and feed records. As you begin processing and working livestock, continue to push yourself to use other features. Remember, you aren’t going to use the product perfectly the first time, every time. If you’re struggling, or preparing for a big seasonal event on the ranch, work with the customer success team to run through ways you can ensure your solution is working as hard for you as it possibly can.
If you’re on the hunt for a livestock business management solution that allows you to put your entire ranching business in the palm of your hand (literally! We’re designed to work on the go, whether or not you have service!), check out AgriWebb. We’re ready to help you meet whatever business goal you have; whether that’s getting more done, faster, building your bottom line, or ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.