Development of Multi-Herd Management software for small farmers

2001 Annual Report for FS01-129

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2001: $9,949.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:

Development of Multi-Herd Management software for small farmers


Existing herd management software programs available to small farmers have great limitations for many farm practices. They are not adaptable to changes or upgrades unless the user is following conventional management practices. However, farmers interested in sustainable agriculture often use alternative, not conventional, management practices.

The development of a multi-use software program (rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, pastured poultry, crops) would allow small farmers the same advantages as corporate farms. A program with the ability to generate daily, weekly, and monthly tasks such as breed, wean, medicate, plant, fertilize, or harvest would enable small farmers to manage their herds and crops more efficiently and assure that medications, animal care, weed management, etc. are done on a timely basis. There is no integrated farm program available for a nominal charge. Farmers that manage more than one herd, flock or crop currently purchase numerous specific programs, if available at all, to manage their operations.

The solution offered by this project will create one, flexible, multi-use software program that can be shared free of charge. This will reduce the financial impact, on small farmers, of creating effective, efficient and useful programs regardless of the type or number of herds and/or crops they manage. The program will be written by a small farmer who currently uses a computer system for farm management, with the assistance of computer programmers.

The program will be test run on actual farm herds and crops. It will be assessed and adjusted according to the input obtained. It will then be shared with other small farmers managing a diversity of animals and crops.

Small farm managers will evaluate and report on the program’s ability;
1) to better manage time and labor,
2) make informed, profitable production decisions based on instant access to history and inventory,
3) to implement timely cycled herd and crop practices/programs,
4) to allow farmers to record the information only once, at the point of use, rather than the need to transfer data from paper notes into a computer program in the office,
5) to save farmers the time sorting and evaluating data generated in the barn or out in the field.


Mickie Swisher

University of FL, Youth & Community Sciences/IFAS
Jean Lane

Edit and Design Consultant
Jospeh Gatti and Nevin Siefert

Keep Trak Systems
Dr. Kathleen Colverson

Heifer Project International
Beth Seely

Rabbit Producer/Processor & Test Site
Kelly Hall

Rabbit Producer & Test Site