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Groups

Overview

 

The term "Group" in StockManager can be equated to a Flock, Herd or Mob in that it is intended to represent a collection of animals. In StockManager we have created two types of Groups to accommodate different scenarios. Specifically:

  • ID Groups - for animals with an EID and/or VID tag records in the system

  • Non-ID Groups - for animals without tag records in the system

For animals with individual records, you can assign animals to multiple groups at the same time by adding any ID Group name to individual animal records and then using this to analyze Group attributes, add common data to all Group animals or draft animals based on their Group designation.

For example, you can add all ewes that had Scan Result - Twin each year to the "YYYY - Ewe Twin" ID Group. Then, during Breeding Selection, you can quickly identify animals that have had Twins each year for the last 3 years by filtering on Group - "2018 - Ewe Twin", "2017 - Ewe Twin" and 2016 - Ewe Twin". This will identify animals that have all three ID Group designators on their record. You can then add "2019 - Breeding Ewes" ID Group to all of their records and draft them out from the other ewes based on this.

For animals without individual records, you can create Non-ID Groups and use these to capture and store attributes about a physical group of animals. The Non-ID Group record can be selected and viewed in the Animal / Non-ID Group screen. Configured Events can be setup to capture data (animal counts, averages, etc.) on the group of non-tagged animals being processed in the event along with capturing data for animals based on drafting direction by assigning a Non-ID Group to each. 

For example, you could create a Non-ID Group called 2019 Ram Lambs and setup a Configured Event to collect a count and weights on all animals and then draft them into "2019 - Prime", "2019 - Store" and "2019 - Light" based on weight. By assigning these Non-ID Groups to each draft direction, you can quickly lookup the counts and average weights for animals in each Non-ID Group. If you do this consistently each year, you will be able to quickly compare metrics between similar groups each year.

 

For more on the differences between ID and Non-ID Groups and how to create or manage Groups in StockManager, please click here

 

Use Cases

Non-ID Groups

  • Capture data (counts, physical attributes, health treatments, etc.) and draft non-tagged animals into groups for feed planning, mating and sale decisions

  • Capture data and report on groups of non-tagged grazing animals

  • Track the characteristics of common groups of non-tagged animals each year to compare year to year results and improvement progress

  • Quickly collect data (i.e. weights or condition scores) on a statistically significant subset of non-tagged animals in a group to facilitate feed planning, mating and sale decisions for the entire group without having to collect data on all animals

ID Groups

  • To draft out animals based on group that are being physically managed in a larger group of animals - e.g. grazing animals from multiple farms or grazing heifers and cows together for feed planning, treatment, sale, etc.

  • Capture data and report on groups of grazing animals

  • Quickly analyze the metrics of common groups of animals each year to compare year to year results and improvement progress

  • Create and assign Dam and Sire Groups to offspring to track and analyze the performance of these group's offspring for breeding decisions

Planning Groups

To avoid creating a long list of Groups where it is difficult to remember what each represents, it is recommended to define the full list of Groups that will be used each year in advance and implement these in the system for use throughout the year. 

To do this:

  1. Start with one animal type (Cattle, Deer or Sheep)

  2. Pick a starting month associated with the start of your annual management cycle

  3. Write down names for each group that you manage separately from other animals during the month. If you combine or separate groups during the month, develop the list in the order that this is done.

  4. Make sure the names are unique and descriptive enough that you will remember what they represent but as brief as possible (for display purposes in the app). NOTE: Animal Type and Year should not be part of the name as this is a required part of each group setup

  5. Document the criteria for the animals to be placed in each group - e.g. age >1yr, gender, scan result, etc.

  6. Document objective for placing animals in each group - e.g. calculate feed based on group attributes, cull, sell store/prime, etc.

  7. For Sheep, identify which groups will contain animals with individual animal records in the system (i.e. have EID and/or VID tags) and mark these as ID Groups vs Non-ID (assuming all Cattle and Deer will be ID Groups and contain animals with individual records/tags)

  8. Once this is done for a full 12 month cycle, check that all Group names are unique and that they fit your Group use cases

  9. Repeat this for other animal types

  10. Once complete, enter these in the Groups screen and start using them to collect data, analyze and draft animals more effectively.

  11. Modify as needed and review each year for improvements to Group schema 

A blank planning spreadsheet along with some completed reference samples can be found here. Just select File -> Make a copy to create an editable spreadsheet for use.

Notes:

  • A recommended strategy for Grazers is to create Groups with the current year and name of the farm animals come from and use these Groups to draft animals, analyze their weight metrics and report performance back to their owners

  • Avoid creating new groups because you are not sure if you have created a similar one in the past

  • Minimize creating ID Groups to provide a one time designator for animals that you would like to analyze later

  • StockManager is pre-populated with 3 Non-ID Groups: Cattle/Deer/Sheep-9999-UNIDENTIFIED. This is used to capture data on animals in Configured Events setup for EID or VIsual Tag identification method if the transaction is completed without tag information being captured.