The best methods for cattle record keeping

Published: September 3, 2021

farmer and wife with cattle

If you are a rancher trying to find out how to start keeping cattle records or herd data for your ranch but don’t know which is the best way to keep them, this article will help. We will go over the 3 main ways to keep track of cattle records: Notes/Templates, Spreadsheets, and Software/Apps.


This is the most common way to keep track of cattle records. It’s very easy to use and quick to get started. It can be used for all kinds of data, from feed intake to calf records, breeding records or just about anything else you want to record. The downside… do you really want to keep up with all that paperwork? It can be lost or destroyed in a second. Not to mention you are relying on being able to read you own hand writing years down the road. I can’t be the only one who has this problem.

There is also the issue of the amount of math you have to consistently do. You will find yourself checking and rechecking your math over and over and in the end, it might still be inaccurate. But for a lot of people this has been the tried and true way of keeping cattle records. Why fix it if it’s not broken right?

To summarize:


  • Easy to use – You can start right away

  • Very low cost or Free – You don’t need to spend any money on software or hardware, only some paper or a template from online.


    Here is a great one


  • It can be hard to read your own writing and/or it can be inaccurate over time.

  • Papers can be lost, ruined, or crumbled anytime, and can’t be used later on


Compared to notes, spreadsheets are much more accurate, but can also be very hard to use. They are very useful for when you need a lot of room to record data because you can add columns and rows as much as you want. While also being able to set up macros todo calculations on the fly(If you are handy with excel…) But when you have a lot of animals in your herd it becomes harder to track them with this method. Also most people find themselves recording their data twice. Once in the field, then again when entering them in the computer. And you can only access them while at the computer. Difficult to get field access.

Spreadsheets can go a long way if you are willing to put in the time and effort of maintaining them. But once you have them recorded you can rest soundly that those records are going no where.

To summarize:


  • Accurate and Readable

  • Can be set up to make calculations for you.

  • Expandable. Can hold a lot of data easily


  • Can be difficult to use if you are not experienced with excel like software

  • Can require to record data twice due to not having field access


The third cattle record keeping method is through software and apps. These are very accurate because they are designed for the rancher. Data can be easily organized to tailor your needs. There is also not a lot of details to remember with this method, because the program is very simple. You can keep track of many different things at once, like feed intake, vaccination records, breeding records for each individual animal, etc.

This method is the best way to keep track of your cattle or other animals. It’s very easy to use and you don’t have to worry about reading your own writing or about making mistakes on calculations with basic arithmetic. The only downside is that you will need to buy the software or pay for the app. Although Ranchr does provide fa free mobile app

To summarize:


  • Easy to use

  • Accurate and almost no mistakes to make

  • Some have a companion mobile app which gives you field access to your records


  • Can be pricey to buy the software or download the app

Are Digital Record-Keeping Systems Right For Today’s Business?

The importance of documenting data is essential to facilitate business growth and development. This has increased significantly because of the rise in technology. With the use of technology, businesses are able to provide better services.

Maintaining data records can be complicated for small-business owners who are involved in basic record-keeping procedures, including things like purchase receipts, invoices, office reports, etc. Businesses need to keep track of any expenses they incur, not just for bookkeeping purposes but to be able to use the data to help them grow their business.

Recording data can be done with pen and paper or digital means. Pen and paper notes are cheap and easy to use, but they are less accurate than digital records. Electronic spreadsheets are more accurate than notes but can be more difficult to use than digital records.

Are Apps and Software a beneficial investment for cattle farming?

Apps are actually very valuable to cattle farmers because they can be used for many different things. It’s especially helpful for small farms that don’t have much money to spend, or who are new to farming and who don’t have much experience.

If you are considering buying an app you should first find out what kind of business you plan on running. Apps are mostly used to keep track of sales, inventory, employees, clients, etc. Some other useful apps include inventory management systems and desktop calendars. While some apps can be costly, Ranchr offers a free mobile app with unlimited cattle records.

Is Excel spreadsheets okay for keeping digital records?

Excel spreadsheets are very good for keeping digital records because you can make a lot of calculations and you don’t have to read your own writing. Excel spreadsheet is free to download and install. To use the program, all you have to do is sign up for an account on their website, create an account with your email address, password, company name, etc. They will then send you a link so that you can download the app on your mobile device.

After downloading the app, you need to go to the website and follow the steps in the manual. It will tell you how to add a spreadsheet to your account and what you need in order to make a good spreadsheet. Excel spreadsheets are very easy to use since all you have to do is write what information you want in your spreadsheet, compare items or take a picture of a receipt or document that has important data on it.

Can you use an old computer/phone to install Apps/Software?

An old computer or phone can be used to download apps, but it’s better to have a new device without having too many viruses. It’s also better if you have a new device that has updated operating systems because the older the operating system is the more likely that your device will crash or not work right. You might want to buy something used for cheap, but if you do, make sure it’s somewhat reliable and updated.

Do I need to study to use spreadsheets?

You don’t need to buy a book or read a manual in order to learn how to use spreadsheets. There are many websites that teach you how to do things correctly, or you can also get help from someone who has experience with this kind of thing. In addition, there are tutorials on youtube which you can watch to get a better understanding of how spreadsheets work.

Spreadsheets are very easy to use once you get the hang of them. You can just pick up your phone or tablet and start making calculations without having to look up how to do anything. Spreadsheets are also very accurate and you don’t have to worry about making mistakes on calculations, because they already include everything in them for you.

Paper notes have never failed me. Why go digital?

Why use the tractor when the plow has never failed money? Short answer… quality of life. Cattle farmers have been using notes for a long time now, and they have worked fine for many years. The problem with paper notes is that it’s not very convenient because you have to write everything down and it can become very complicated to read your own notes.

In addition, notes can also get ruined by rain, torn apart by animals, or other hazards, and the ink may come off over time. Also, there is an added risk that animals may eat or damage your papers if they find them in the stall. Digital records have none of these problems.


Cattle farmers and their producers can benefit from the digital records system offered by Ranchr because it is very easy to use and it allows the user to keep track of all their business activities. It’s also good if you’re involved in daily chores like working the cattle, feeding them, taking care of them, and other such things because using this kind of system will make your work easier and less complicated. You no longer have to worry about writing, recording, or managing separate ledgers for each of your animals because it can all be done through one single app.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is; you should still invest in a record-keeping system that’s cost-effective and easy to use. It’s always better to start using digital records at the right time in order to avoid any potential problems and difficulties that might arise in the future. Good luck!

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Keep track of all your cattle with the #1 Cattle Management Software

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