Catle too fat? There’s an app for that
February 23, 2017
Scoring and tracking the body condition of cattle over time and across pastures, there are apps for that. CRYSTALYX Brand Supplements, produced by Alltech subsidiary, Ridley Inc., recently updated their CRYSTALYX Beef Cow Body Condition Score app.
The free app is designed to help producers make management decisions based off of the body condition scores of their cattle. The app allows producers to take a photo of a cow, enter the tag number, and optionally allocate the cow to a pasture.
The producer can then compare the photo to reference photos for body condition scores from one to nine that are already within the app, or added by the producer, to help accurately assign a score to the cow. Dates and locations (if GPS service is turned on) are automatically recorded.
"The app gives you a standard to compare your own cattle to. It helps when you're scoring different breeds with differing frame sizes and lets you know if your cows are under condition or over condition," said South Dakota rancher, Matt Peckham.
Producers have the option to record and track cows individually or by pasture group and can view stats on animals and pastures over time. The app provides an average body condition score for groups of cattle, as well as a frequency distribution of scores within pasture groups.
"The app allows me to monitor the body condition of my herd before and after grazing cornstalks. I also use it to get an idea of where they are going into calving, and adjust my nutrition accordingly," Peckham said.
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"No one goes anywhere without their cell phone these days. This is such an easy app to use and a great way to visually monitor how your nutrition program is meeting your cow herd needs. We have now made it easier to see and store your information," said Ridley Block Operation Director of Marketing Dan Dhuyvetter, in the company's recent press release announcing the update of the app.
According to the press release, the newly updated CRYSTALYX Beef Cow Body Condition Score app includes an updated user interface which provides: faster data entry; easier navigation and more robust help including:
• The ability to export records and email for a more thorough spread sheet analysis
• The capability to view a body condition score distribution graph for cows in each pasture to see a quick overview of the entire herd
• The distribution graph also shows average body condition score for each pasture group
• An updated GPS tracking feature
"The original version of the app did not have export capabilities. We had feedback from producers, asking for the ability to export the data they collected using the app. So, that was one thing we made sure got included in this most recent update," said CRYSTALYX Research and Nutrition Services Manager Mark Robbins.
A similar body condition scoring app is available for iOS and Android users from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The NUBeef-BCS app, designed by Rick Rasby, beef specialist and associate dean of Nebraska Extension, provides producers with three different components to assess and analyze their herds' body condition scores.
The first component is a written document that explains the one through nine body condition scoring system. The document details how and when to record body condition scores, as well as how they could be applied in the production setting.
The second is a learning module that serves as a tutorial in which producers can practice scoring on a herd available within the application. The module tells users when they have correctly, or incorrectly, assigned body condition scores and provides explanations for why the practice animals were assigned those scores.
The third and final component of the NUBeef-BCS app is the ability to photograph representative cows in the herd, assign body condition scores, and save both the images and scores in the system. Producers can go back and record new images and scores as needed throughout the year. ❖