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Tools for Timeliness

Sandy Johnson provides overview of how Estrus Synchronization Planner and Management Minder can help organize breeding programs.

RUIDOSO, NEW MEXICO (Aug. 29, 2018) — “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

While Benjamin Franklin most likely was not directing this statement toward producers in the beef industry, his words ring true for cattlemen and women today. From vaccination to breeding and even to growing seasons, success in the cattle industry is built on a producer’s ability to track and follow various numbers and dates.

Sandy Johnson

Avoiding failure when implementing a breeding program requires careful planning. Kansas State University’s Sandy Johnson provided an overview of two tools to help ranchers stay on schedule.

At the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Workshop hosted in Ruidoso, N.M., Aug. 29-30, Sandy Johnson, beef specialist at Kansas State University (KSU), offered ranchers several tools to help better manage their time and track important dates within their cattle herds.

Available in three formats, the Estrus Synchronization Planner can be found on the Iowa Beef Center’s website. Johnson explained while each form of the planner serves a specific purpose, all three are used as calendars to help keep ranchers on track.

The first form is the standard version. The planner should be used when ranchers want “the right thing done on the right day, and the right products administered with the right timing,” Johnson said. The Microsoft® Excel-based planner offers cattlemen the ability to personalize the program to match their herd and breeding preferences.

A mobile version of the planner can also be used by ranchers. With a need to constantly be on the go, Johnson emphasized the ease of having the ability to access the program on smart phones.

The third and final form of the planner is a multi-group version. Johnson said this form is capable of holding up to six different groups with various breeding schedules. The program allows ranchers to differentiate between the groups on a single calendar by changing the font color and size assigned to each group.

While this form of the program requires a few prerequisites before it can be utilized, Johnson said it is just as easily accessible and simple to use as the other two versions.

All three forms provide ranchers with the chance to select which products they will use and adjust the dates for administration and breeding as necessary. With a cost calculator and prediction of calving dates, Johnson describes this program as an amazing chance for ranchers to create personalized plans for the estrous cycles of their herds.

Management Minder

“With the business of life, sometimes the things we remember and the things we know get forgotten,” Johnson said, leading her to introduce the Management Minder program, another tool for ranchers to use to stay on track with the cycles of their herds.

The project was completed in the past few years, and Johnson describes it as “a rancher’s personal assistant.” The program can be found available for all breeders on both the Iowa Beef Center website and the K-State website.

She said this program focuses more on the yearlong production cycle of a beef operation rather than just the estrous cycle. Ranchers are able to input key dates for their herds and receive reminders about upcoming events or necessary actions.

Cattlemen can create checklists of key management decisions, such as the start of breeding, calving, weaning or grazing seasons.

Johnson reminded the audience of the importance of keeping breeding females in top condition throughout the entire year, not just calving season. She said the checklist will assist ranchers in providing their females with proper levels of nutrition.

Avoiding failure requires preparation, and the programs introduced by Johnson provide this preparation. The estrous synchronization planner and the Management Minder are skillfully designed to encourage ranchers to carefully plan and remember dates and timing issues regarding their herds.

For details on Johnson’s presentation — including the proceedings, PowerPoint and video of her presentation — visit the Newsroom at

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Media. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact the Angus Media editorial team at 816-383-5200.