Dairy management software can help you manage your farm more efficiently, whether you need to streamline your accounting practices, monitor your animals' health and reproduction, track dairy production and sales, or all of the above. The program you choose should ultimately depend on your farm's needs -- in other words, the "best" dairy management software will be the one that helps you earn more profit.
The software you pick should also be relatively easy for you to use, and should possibly let you export data to the other software programs you use to manage your operations. There are many resources for farmers who are new to software, or who are ready for an upgrade. Reliable dairy software advice and ratings include information from:
1. University extensions that offer advice on choosing software, as well as some free programs.
2. Trade magazines for dairy farmers that report on new developments in cow software and milk software.
3. The dairy business software developers themselves -- request a proposal to find out what a program can do for your farm.
Visit university extensions for advice on choosing and using dairy cattle softwareMany state universities offer resources on livestock production to the public, free of charge. In addition to information on choosing a dairy program, many university extension services have developed spreadsheets and calculators based on the school's research.
Penn State has an article on what to look for in farm management software, as well as advice on choosing a recordkeeping system. Montana State University has a number of downloads for dairy farmers that can help them budget costs, including the cost of wintering animals, the cost of grass feeding, and hay costs that affect cow calf profitability. Washington State University also has risk assessment and budgeting tools for dairy farmers.
Read industry publications to find out more about dairy industry softwareAs you read trade mags for dairy farmers, you'll get a good idea of what dairy software is capable of and its limitations. You might also find some information on the drawbacks of using a particular software title.
AgricultureOnline has a product gallery of some popular dairy herd management software programs, with screenshots of the programs and short reviews. The publication also reports on new developments in dairy software, and sometimes interviews the farmers who use it. Dairy Today reviews new and innovative software products. Dairy Herd Management has advice on choosing accounting software.
Request information from dairy business software vendorsImplementing new software is a big deal. In addition to purchase and setup costs, software will also change how you do business day to day. No matter what a review says, research the product, get a software demo, talk to a representative, and review the program yourself before you make any decisions.
Forbes has a directory of over 100 farm management software programs. It allows users to filter the listings by feature, and has a feature that lets buyers submit information requests to multiple vendors. Farm Net Services, a web resource for the ag industry, maintains a dairy software directory, as does AgSites.com.