Data the PowerCalf way

Written by Steve Fairchild on .

Data is power. And MFA’s PowerCalf is preparing a powerful tool for your cattle herd, said Mike John, director of Health Track operations for MFA Incorporated.

“We are in the final stages of technology agreements and tweaking the tools on our app,” he said. “When we put it in the market place, producers can download the app for a way to get herd records from the field into a digitized form that will help them analyze their production methods. You only have to enter the data once.”

MFA’s PowerCalf is a program to provide our beef-producer customers with data-based intelligence that will help them realize the full value of their herd’s genetic potential. The program collects and manages data in a standardized manner. It measures and benchmarks herd performance, and in turn, delivers this data to customers in a way they can use to improve their operations.

The PowerCalf app will be iOS- and Android-compatible. Producers can use the program to measure critical events for their herd. John said that breeding records, calving, death loss, feeding, pregnancy checks and processing information are the fundamentals of herd record-keeping. The app provides a menu for each of these areas.

“I use calving for an example,” said John. “Calving is a time when you want to get the information down accurately. And you already have the phone on your hip, so it’s a good time to collect data in what I call the one-and-done method. Input data while you’re looking at the calf and its dam in the pasture, and the app will send it to our secure servers. You’ll have it later at your desktop, too.”

At calving, the app provides the producer prompts to record the date, cow ID, cow age, pasture location, calf ID and sex. One of the goals of the app is to make the data uniform. “For your analysis and to help benchmark your herd against industry standards, you need standardized data,” said John. “That’s why we have the drop-down menus. It prevents you from losing data through a typo or misspelling.”

There are fields for general notes as well as industry-standard calf descriptors such as calving ease and calving vigor. “The goal,” said John, “is to give producers a way to capitalize on that phone that they already have in their pocket or on their hip. The app gives you a way to record what just happened today. It won’t happen again tomorrow, and it’s the kind of information that can help you improve your herd. This is a way for you to enter the data quickly in one place and have it standardized and available from then on. You don’t have to sit down in front of a computer later and enter it. And it’s sent to secured, backed-up servers.”

John noted that producers don’t have to share their data with anyone. However, data can be used in a randomized pool to provide feedback on industry standards.

“When it goes up to the secure server. We’ll get feedback to you immediately on what you entered. For example, when the report is generated, it comes back immediately to your phone in a form, and you can verify that the data is correct. And yes, we’ll keep your individual data confidential.”

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