homestead/livestock related software

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mimsmommy, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. mimsmommy

    mimsmommy Active Member

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    Hey y'all,

    My husband is a computer progammer and he and a collegue are branching out on their own. they are currently brainstorming any possible niche software packages they could produce, and i said i would try one out on y'all to see what interest there might be out there. I am NOT soliciting, as this is all in theory right now, but what we are interested in is a few areas:
    #1 does anyone currently use a software to manage their hobby farm or animals
    #2 are you happy with it , and if no, what do you wish it would do
    #3 what elements/functions would a software have to provide to be most useful to you--for example, for animals you might need feed amounts/changes, breeding info, birthing info, medical treatments, notes, place for photo, maybe a link to a animal med. encyclopedia, etc... A show breeder of said animals may have other info to track with which i am not familiar.
    #4 what cost would you be willing to pay? (ballpark)

    Feel free to PM me with your info if you don't think it would be of interest to anyone else or if you want your comments private.

    If there are already some great software packages out there, then the niche is filled, but i (and i am sure others) would love to hear about them since you all can give us an idea of how helpful they are or not.

    I hope these questions are not out of line with the spirit of Homesteading Today, but if they are i will understand if the moderator deletes the thread.

    Thanks, y'all, and God bless.
    mimsmommy :)
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Yes, we have a very powerful software package that helps us manage our two chickens. We are very happy with it.
     

  3. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend in Ky that all the waterers on his horse farm are connected to computers so he knows how much each horse gets per day. All feeds and medicines are also logged in to a database of somesort. the water thing really suprised me talk about big bucks.

    mikell
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    All software should be judged on its output of useful info and a close second is how easy it is to input the raw data. On count #2 my software to manage our 200 ewes sux. If you guys want to develope a sheep/goat/cow software package let me know. I'll help all I can!
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have never seen any software that would help organize my little place.

    I would LIKE to see something where I could click on an area and see when it was last fertilized, with what, and how the yield was. As it is, I mostly keep it in my head.

    For example, this Fall I fertilized the berry patch with 12-12-12 from the feed store, I sold over $100 worth of berries, and I need to prune the blackberries soon. I have the spray for the rust that is bothering the blackberry vines, but I did not get it applied. I got the spray (whatever it is) from Gardens Alive with a coupon.

    It WOULD be convenient to be able to click on blackberries and see names of products used and amounts, as well as prices, but they don't seem to make programs for less than a large farm. Such is life.

    The kicker is, I would not pay much for such a program, because my little place does not justify spending much on a program. $50 to pay for a program to manage my $100 berry crop does not make sense.

    Though, as I am expanding what I offer to include honey and probably asparagus, I might reach that point in a couple of years.
     
  6. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    We don't use a software program yet, but would love to! Right now, I just keep excel spreadsheets on our breeding flock of sheep. Age, parents, lambing stats and meds are the only things on there. A program that would incorporate that plus expenses such as feed, meds, supplies, and sales such as lamb and wool would be great! Then, if it could also keep track of the friut/veg production as mentioned above, but allow for a "farmers market" type of small scale operation that is very diversified into a lot of different products.

    Lastly, it would be interesting if there was the option to keep track of the time involved, but will I really want to know that? And, what about seasonal/temporary employees? a basic payroll expense program would be extremely helpful too.
    I don't think we would be willing to fork out much over $200 for such a program.

    Is this the type of feedback you are looking for??
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I forgot to estimate ball park costs. There's a neat (if incomplete) system where you add modules for cropping or animals or machinery upkeep, payroll etc. and you add what modules you need. Farm Works is the company name and i have a link somewhere. It may have improved alot since I looked at it and it wasn't terrible then. I think each module ran $150. Personally if it does what I need I'd pay $3-400 but I'd expect product support and ongoing development to handle bugs. Customizable reports are nice and a few even had Palm pilot linking. I could use that too. I must have a dozen links to different herd/flock record keeping programs. One of the slickest (and i almost bought it) was "Dairy Live" Very easy to use and straight forward just to customize it for sheep was a bit tricky and it needed a little mroe "k" of memo area. I use Ewebytes which covers everything but it is tiring to input data. Its output is amazing and has excellent product support, with on-going development. Datasbase conversion services would be worth a few coins for those with records already that needed to be converted to a new system.
     
  8. Cindy in KY

    Cindy in KY Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I would love a pedigree generator software program. I know there are some out there, but none are able to be customized to individual needs. I have registered Border Collies, Alpine goats and miniature horses. I would like to make my own pedigrees, printed on long paper, showing as many generations back as I can fit, and then even expanding that back more. (possible? 2 page horizontal pedigrees?) Fonts would have to be big enough to read. A place at the top for the Kennel/Farm name & animal name, breed, DOB, color.

    And the ability to use different colors of fonts on the same pedigree would be great. Like using red #'s for the Supreme Champions in their lines, or black names for black dogs, and red names for red dogs, etc. Many breeders are interested in whether the dog "carries" the red, and what parents-grandparents-etc colors were. It's important to some of us to have a dog from a completely black line, and this would at least be a start in keeping easy records.

    Also, the program would need to be able to "insert" pedigrees I have previously typed out, saved as whatever format. That would be awesome. Since I have my own line of Border Collies now, I am back on the 5th & 6th generation on their pedigrees. So, most of the pedigrees generated would be from the same lines of dogs. As I would type in a new one, it could be saved. I would love to print out a 12 generation pedigree for the new owners. These would be pedigrees, not registration papers. AND, what would top it off, is the ability to email pedigrees (maybe zipped?), and publish to a webpage. :) Asking allot?

    I do believe there would be an interest in a program like this, just think of ALL the different breeds of dogs, goats, horses, even show rabbits & chickens! Make it able to be customized by each person. I think $100 would be more than fair. (with a link to your website on each web-published pedigree) I make and maintain over a dozen BC websites for others, I know each one would probably love to have one. (They could make their own pedigrees to email to me for publishing on their site.) Scanned in real pedigrees are quite a pain to put on a site, as they load soooooo slow, no matter how you do it. They pay me to type them out using Publisher, and it take a LONG time.

    All my sites are professionally submitted by my genius brother, and come out on top of all the search engines, so we all would be great advertising for you if I inserted the proper keywords into each site that used your pedigree program. I have wanted one for a long time but I don't know anyone who MAKES programs. I sell pups for less w/o registration to farmers (they don't care if they are registered, just full stock) and having a pedigree to hand them would be super. :)

    Now, after you got the hang of it, you could offer a program such as this with in-breeding coafficients (sp?) incorporated into it. A person could generate a pedigree to see what coafficient came up (as a test), before breeding. I think your success would be to make it work for ANY breed of animal.
     
  9. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I could sell to my clients (which is always better than "I want!") a learning software package which included calendars and other information on how to raise sheep, keep chickens, etc. I think if someone were thinking along the same lines as the original Sim Farm, only based it more accurately on real farm conditions so the farmer could learn about feed, time considerations, worming schedules, breeding schedules, etc, all in a virtual environment before they hit the real world, this would be wildly helpful.

    To say nothing of fun for schoolkids.
     
  10. mimsmommy

    mimsmommy Active Member

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    Thanks everybody for your thoughtful responses!
    I got a good laugh, Cabinfever; i guess i should have specified that it probably only applied to those with a fairly complex gig. those must be some special chickens! :haha:

    We have got some great food for thought,and some leads on other products for comparison. Our original idea was a diversified animal management that could include all the different animals that one might have--within reason-- with links to husbandry info on each animal species (like Storey's for ex) on one location, and perhaps also have a garden manager with a link to the farmer's almanac. Like i said before, if that is already out there, why reinvent the wheel? But if there is a real gap, perhaps DH and his friend could fill it.

    Anymore comments are appreciated!
    thanks again!
    mimsmommy
     
  11. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    I'll tell you what. What Cindy in KY described sounds very good indeed, but what would it cost for something like that? :eek:

    I could see wanting to use that in a breeding program where you breed to certain characteristics, like size, number in litter, feed to weight gain ratios or whatever.
     
  12. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Couldn't you use genealogy software to do your pedigrees? There are some good free ones available (PAF and Legacy) and some that aren't so good even though they cost money. I think you have to get the delux package of Legacy to print out pedigrees, but it is more flexible than PAF. The Master Genealogist (TMG) is the most flexible and could definately do everything you are talking about. It runs about $100. You can even include pictures in the pedigree - one as the background or 1 for each person (or dog).
     
  13. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Boy I sure hope your husband can get something going for us tiny farmers. I keep looking at small farm management software but by "small" they really mean anything that is not a mega corporation and is still hundreds of acres and animals. I would love something that would let me keep track of expenses, planting dates, fertilizing dates, hatching dates, breeds, plant types etc. Please keep us informed!
     
  14. Cindy in KY

    Cindy in KY Well-Known Member

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    I didn't even know they offered genealogy software that printed family trees. I've never gotten into that. Interesting, thanks Mistletoad. And Mimsmommy's husband, let us know what's in store by way of software. :)
     
  15. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    My partner and I have been working / developing a software package just for the small farmer. It has libraries for all of the popular livestock and equipment options as well as complete database support for adding pricing based on prices in your area.

    Basic version will be less than 100$ with 24/7 email support and the Pro version is 399$ with expanded support and a few extra goodies such as palm pilot and cell phone support, bar code readers (think animal / pen / feed / meds etc ) to allow real time data exchange from barn to pc.

    And yes, for the person that mentioned it, there is full pedigree support in the basic version for each animal to an unlimited number of generations. Only limited by the size of your memory....lol so you can get quite a bit in it.

    We are alpha testing right now and working out printing / packaging / shipping details.

    We should have a website up in short order with more details but we decided long ago to play our cards close the the chest until we were about there.

    Sorry, but we have not made any considerations for the Mac crowd.
     
  16. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Keeping your work to yourself is only natural, but may I ask what kind of reports it generates and are they customizable?
     
  17. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    We are tuning the report creation code right now but basically you make make a report out of any field in any database in the system. I am not sure if anyone needs a 'for instance' but I will include one I was just playing with...

    BONNIE P/L STATEMENT

    I could print out a report on Bonnie (a goat), her feed for the last 6 months, since purchase (by type and weight & $$) her initial cost, vet expenses, misc expenses. I can then enter a sale price and extract my P/L on this animal, compare it to another and see where I am losing / making money. I can also enter gestation and lactation data and factor that into the whole picture.

    Every report is customizable and yes, you can set it as a default.

    New as of an hour ago.... lol you can now add a picture of every animal on the farm and have it appear in all on screen and printed reports at will.

    We just had a thought.... since we have been keeping this very very quiet for the last couple of years we have had limited input from only a few close farmers. How about this, tell us what you want and if it is doable maybe we can get it included.
     
  18. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We use a progeny report, listing all related sons and daughters for either a ewe or ram in the flock. Here's the tricky bit, inbreeding co-efficents should automatically calculate for each animal as you assemble a breeding group with a sire. BTW The records should be dividable into managment groups and data input should let you record an event for an individual, a group or the whole flock (herd) with one entry. Vaccination for example. What would be nice is an EPD number that would show improvement with a breeding for whatever's being indexed. That can't be done unless the indexable data has been inputed. You should have a record system that handles special breeding methods like induced heat cycles, ETs, accelerated lambing scheduling etc. A computer generated pedigree is nice but only if it's doing the work for you.
    A feed ration calculator that produces a ration report (again per animal or group) and allows you to use homegrown (and analized crops) with common suppliments to try different formulations (wouldn't a cost calculator there help!)
    Medical records should be able to hold notes (and lots of k available for this) for each treatment and if they could display (from user inputed data, and set defaults for off label use) the expected withdrawl date, I'm less concerned with cost here but a simple total system would help the old tax time number crunching. I don't know how handy a compendium or general health routine library is here, things change all the time and it would have to be huge to be helpful.
    A geneal note system is very handy and most programs are limited by old world hard drive restrictions. If you could flag or categorize each note so they could be sorted and shown as a group, (say all animals that have a maternity note) could be shown in a report you'd make the note section part of a report.
    A calendar system that reminds you in advance of flock (herd) tasks coming up would be nice.
    A report that shows what each animal has produced both in quantity and value is helpful you'd need to cover meat, milk and wool for me plus a misc or customizable section wouldn't hurt, (for hides or rental fees, etc.)
    I'll need to check out what I'm using now and add on, I just woke up so my brain isn't working much above half speed!
     
  19. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    We use a progeny report, listing all related sons and daughters for either a ewe or ram in the flock. Here's the tricky bit, inbreeding co-efficents should automatically calculate for each animal as you assemble a breeding group with a sire. BTW The records should be dividable into managment groups and data input should let you record an event for an individual, a group or the whole flock (herd) with one entry. Vaccination for example. What would be nice is an EPD number that would show improvement with a breeding for whatever's being indexed. That can't be done unless the indexable data has been inputed. You should have a record system that handles special breeding methods like induced heat cycles, ETs, accelerated lambing scheduling etc. A computer generated pedigree is nice but only if it's doing the work for you.
    ---> I studied the whole pedigree angle very carefully when I started this project as the original project was the request of a customer who is currently using a very light version. I think it is pretty powerful IMO. More on this later.

    A feed ration calculator that produces a ration report (again per animal or group) and allows you to use homegrown (and analized crops) with common suppliments to try different formulations (wouldn't a cost calculator there help!)
    Medical records should be able to hold notes (and lots of k available for this) for each treatment and if they could display (from user inputed data, and set defaults for off label use) the expected withdrawl date, I'm less concerned with cost here but a simple total system would help the old tax time number crunching. I don't know how handy a compendium or general health routine library is here, things change all the time and it would have to be huge to be helpful.
    ---> Got it, it works, but may need some tweaking during Beta test.

    A calendar system that reminds you in advance of flock (herd) tasks coming up would be nice.
    ---> Got it. User Configurable and it is persiestent ie shows on pc startup, and runs real time in the background.

    A geneal note system is very handy and most programs are limited by old world hard drive restrictions. If you could flag or categorize each note so they could be sorted and shown as a group, (say all animals that have a maternity note) could be shown in a report you'd make the note section part of a report.
    ---> The current built in note system is kind of neat. It does not hold any data other than a generated link to a text file, a word doc or a excel file. You choose on creation. If it is an excel file, the proper setup allows data to be parsed back to the program database on the fly for true data in data exchange as long as a few parameters are setup the same.

    A report that shows what each animal has produced both in quantity and value is helpful you'd need to cover meat, milk and wool for me plus a misc or customizable section wouldn't hurt, (for hides or rental fees, etc.)
    ---> Got it, and it actually works with test data.... lol

    I'll need to check out what I'm using now and add on, I just woke up so my brain isn't working much above half speed!
    ---> I agree, it is entirely too early for the enhanced mode esp. with no coffee.
     
  20. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    please let us know when web site is up, we have been waiting years for something for the really small farmer homesteader type set up!