Technology in the livestock industry

David Koupal South Dakota Center for Farm
Ranch Business Management

A few weeks ago I instructed an artificial insemination (AI) class in Hot Springs, S.D. We had a great bunch of producers attend from South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. AI has been around since early 1900’s. This type of technology has changed from glass ampules to now having sexed semen available. In agriculture there is always new technology to incorporate into your operation, but what technology is worth the labor or expense?

Many of you might disagree with me, but I feel that probably the most important technology for you to have is your phone. Some of you might still have the flip phone where your basic options would be sending or receiving a phone call or maybe texting. With this technology you can call anyone about some sort of information. It wasn’t that long ago we had to either read about the cattle markets in the paper or listen to the radio to see what the commodity markets are doing. Now you can call and get the latest prices, or if you have one of the new fancy phones an app is available to get the latest market updates. If you have noticed in the past 3 weeks, we have seen a roller coaster ride with either limit up or limit down in cattle prices. With many ranchers making some risk management decision in the past weeks, the phone has been very crucial to keep up to date with the markets. Knowing what is going on daily in the markets seems that the cell phone is one of your best investments in your operation. Other than the fancy app, it is interesting how many ranchers are taking pictures of parts before they run into town. Or an updated weather to the minute to get that last field planted. Built in calculators, voice recording to remind you of daily task, a wide selection of music, monthly calendars and many more.

Most of us think about high technology in agriculture such as AI-ing, 50K genetic testing or ultra-sounding but small things like our cell phone is an investment that keep us in communication with others but also educates us to make those management decision. If you would like to know more about financial management technology, call the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management at 1-800-MTI-1969.