- Agronomic: corn, potatoes, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animals: bovine, sheep
- Animal Production: feed formulation, feed rations, mineral supplements, pasture renovation, range improvement, grazing - rotational, vaccines, winter forage, feed/forage
- Education and Training: technical assistance, decision support system, extension, farmer to farmer, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, risk management, whole farm planning
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Wyoming producers need an inexpensive, easy-to-understand, and highly flexible database to encourage record keeping and information use. A database available to all Wyoming producers through the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES) would meet this need and bring with it the educational resources of the land-grant system.
The objective of developing a record management computer database for Wyoming cow-calf producers is to encourage record keeping, analysis of production and economic information, and integration of land-grant information to make economically sound and environmentally sustainable management decisions.
Producer knowledge: By placing UW CES in a role to answer technical questions regarding the database, relationships between producers and extension educators were fostered and many teachable opportunities created. This relationship and information integrated within the database resulted in producers adapting sustainable production practices endorsed by UW CES. Producers also underwent a process of self-discovery when entering and analyzing their ranch data leading them to make decisions positively affecting the profitability of their operations. Producers who implemented the database were able to generate annual performance records on their operations and improve their understanding of the main economic forces affecting the operation.
Information disseminated: Through cooperation with the UW CES Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture Systems Initiative Team, a web site was developed (http://wccrms.com) as an information hub for Wyoming beef producers on the database. This web site will house this database and supporting documents. Multiple training sessions for beef producers occurred. Statewide media developed general information articles that assisted in getting the word out about the database. Presentations have been made to professional associations and organizations to inform natural resource advisors on the benefits and function of the database.
Resources Impacted: The database proved very popular among cow-calf producers in Wyoming. Over 300 copies of the database were distributed to producers during the past two years. Of the 300 distributed a reasonable estimate of 15% of producers use the database to keep and manage herd records. This would mean the 45 ranches that were either not keeping and managing herd performance records are now doing so, or that this system is an improvement over their old system. Producers using livestock production records are able to make better informed management decisions and determine focus areas for management attention by benchmarking against know averages. This practice will improve the profitability of the producers using this tool and better position the operations to manage through challenging times.
Economic and quality of life impacts: A similar effort conducted by Texas A&M Cooperative Extension, in which producers are encouraged to keep records and make decisions based on these records, reported an average savings of $16,931 to each operation that implemented the program (McGrann and Richardson, 2003). Assuming 45 herds adopted the Wyoming Cow-Calf Record Management System and using the data collected by Texas A&M reporting an average increase in ranch income of $16,931 by using a herd record management system, we can assume an increase of $765,000 of net income across all 45 ranches.