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Computerized Herd Record and Analysis System
 

Using CowCalf5 with PDA's

The biggest challenge with any Cattle Production Record System is getting the data entered into the system in a timely matter. Historically, data was collected on paper forms and entered into the computer at a later date. By the time most data is entered, the data is historical. Most of the relevant and timely decisions had been performed without the use of the records.

We realized this problem years ago, and created a program call ChuteSide when notebook computers were first invented. The problems we encountered using a notebook at the chute were numerous. First off, notebook computers are very expensive. Most producers do not want to take an expensive notebook out into a corral with dirt, moisture and cattle. Secondly, notebooks only run on batteries for a short time, so AC power is usually required, and may not be available. Finally, it is nearly impossible to see a notebook screen in the bright sun light. The glare on the screen makes using a computer in the sunlight nearly impossible.

In the late 1990's, PDA's (Personal Data Assistant) were invented. Unlike notebook computers, PDA's are designed to work outside, run for days on one charge, are light and portable, inexpensive and can be programmed like a computer.

We have developed software for the pda that allows you to export your current herd inventory to the PDA. Make the changes on the pda while working the cattle, then simply place the PDA into a charging cradle and hot sync the data directly back into the computer. Using the PDA, your data can be entered into CowCalf5 within minutes of working the last animal.

Software for either the Palm or Windows CE (Pocket PC) operating systems is included free with your purchase of CowCalf5.

Some of the advantages of using a PDA over paper are:

  • Current inventory is automatically updated on the PDA
  • All data is backed up to the computer every time you hot sync. If PDA is broken or lost, simply hot sync new device, and all data is returned.
  • Data enter is designed to be extremely quick. Most fields are simply point and click.
  • If you are entering text, you simply write on the screen, just like writing on paper
  • Additional info is displayed on the PDA for help with management decisions, like age, cows MPPA (lifetime production), last calves weaning weight, and reasons you want to dispose of an animal.
  • Comments can be entered on any animal, and synced into CowCalf5
  • PDA's can communicate with Blue Tooth EID readers for quick animal lookup
  • Program is designed to work with older PDA's (which are very inexpensive, under $100)
  • PDA screens are designed for bright sun light and out door environments.
 

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