There are many resources you can access to expand your knowledge of animal nutrition, production practices and species in your area, but few are more accessible than those on your phone. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (AgriLife) is working to reach landowners and managers in innovative ways by creating a number of mobile apps to assist in land, wildlife and livestock management decisions.
Recommended mobile apps for land and wildlife stewards
The Cow Poop Analyzer app can be used to monitor crude protein and digestibility of forage that cattle are grazing. This app allows the user to take pictures of a manure pile and then cross reference the photo to other photos with known forage quality descriptions. Each new record is then tied back to a particular pasture and time of year so that forage quality can be monitored over time, allowing livestock managers to know when forage quality is adequate, how to utilize available forage more efficiently, and when supplemental feed may be needed.
The Stocking Rate Calculator app allows livestock managers to efficiently and reliably calculate stocking rates for a property based on actual forage production. Users can identify the size of the animal as well as the length of time the property will be grazed. This app is applicable for a variety of animals, including cattle, horses, sheep, or goats.
Following guidelines provided in this three-part YouTube video series (Determining Stocking Rates to Benefit Cattle and Quail Part I, Part II, and Part III), livestock managers can get an accurate estimate of current forage production that can then be used in the Stocking Rate Calculator app.
iNaturalist is an app that allows anyone across the world to document local biodiversity and educate themselves on the species in their area. Users can simply take a photo of a plant or animal they encounter and iNaturalist will automatically make a suggestion of the species identity based on previous sightings and the species that are commonly found in the area. Aerial maps allow users to see nearby observations, and the guide feature allows them to access field guides that identify a wide range of wildlife. Landowners can even create their own field guide specific to their property and keep a running list of the species they encounter.
The RxBurn app is an essential resource that provides information on planning a prescribed burn, burn boss roles and duties, safety, weather, and fire behavior. The app also provides a one-stop shop for education videos, helpful websites, and published materials related to prescribed burning. RxBurn will provide valuable information for a safer and more effective prescribed fire whether you are a Certified and Insured Burn Manager or new landowner.
Stay tuned, more to come.