Record keeping in the cattle and farming industry has always been important. Tracking genetic performance in addition to profitability can be a never ending task. Any time a cow goes through our chute we write their ear tag number down and what task we performed on them, just like a doctor keeps records on you when you visit them.
If there is one thing I have learned about owning a small business it is that you have to be organized. Papers and receipts can quickly pile up and take over your desk or work area. I have made it a goal this year to work each month to file and record anything that comes through my business so I am more organized for end of year taxes. But my small business is nothing compared to owning a farm or ranch. Loans, cash flow in and out, receipts for parts, buying and selling equipment and cattle…things are constantly changing around here. It is so, so important we stay on track with our record keeping to make sure our cattle are healthy and accounted for.
Since my fathers injury I have been keeping records on all of our new baby calves being born.
Each calf being born gets an ear tag in their left ear. The big black bold number is their I.D., or what we call them. The number I wrote above their number is the dam I.D. or mother’s I.D. This information is beneficial when sorting them at a young age to keep them together with their mom and so we can compare them both to the genetics we decided to use for the calf. The letters I wrote at the very top is the sire I.D., or father’s I.D. Similar to the dam, this helps us to see the genetics play throughout the calves’ lives.
Along with recording this information I track their birth date, birth weight, sex–bull or heifer, embryo transfer data–if applicable and other comments about the birth of the calf, i.e. if we pulled the calf or if the mother had any trouble having it.
Unfortunately Jared and I had a bad morning. It started at 2:30 a.m. with a heifer having some trouble after giving birth. We called the vet and we worked hours to save her, but unfortunately she didn’t survive. Now every day, twice a day, I get to bottle feed her calf. We hate to see things like this happen. We hate losing calves and we hate to lose cows. People think we are numb to seeing a cow or calf die. They think we are used to it because it’s just a business and we’re only in it for the money. There’s no doubt in my mind that when any rancher loses a calf their stomach drops similar to the way mine does. We care about these animals and want the best life for them.