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Beef Stocker USA 2013 Survey of the Animal Identification Industry

Responding Company: Cow Sense
Survey Section: Software



Cow Sense


Develop Software:




The strengths of Cow Sense are at the cow/calf level in commercial as well as seedstock enterprises.  It is a useful herd management tool for commercial cattlemen that want a simple inventory tool or desire advanced analysis needed to evaluate individual cows based upon their production and contribution to profit.  Additional capabilities are available for the seedstock producer that wishes to register cattle online, receive EPD updates, and manage customers and sale receipts.  This flexibility allows producers to identify their needs and choose from the Cow Sense products to meet those needs.


Version Name (1):

Cow Sense EZ-75



Designed with the smaller cow operation in mind.  It provides all the performance measures, breeding, and animal health functions, but is limited to 75 cows.  It also has some advanced features like user defined fields, custom reports, and specialized data entry removed for simplicity.

Cost: $149 (Web) - $175 (Retail)


Version Name (2):

Cow Sense - Lite



Designed for a ranch that does not yet weigh calves individually or retain individual carcass performance.  It provides measures of reproductive performance, progeny lists, herd inventory and all the other functions for breeding and animal health.

Cost: $266 (Web) - $295 (Retail)


Version Name (3):

Cow Sense - Commercial



Is the most widely used product, with complete individual animal performance measures while on the cow, in the feedlot, and at harvest.  Detailed breeding and animal health are standard.

Cost: $446 (Web) - $495 (Retail)


Version Name (4):

Cow Sense - Purebred



Introduces functions for the seed stock operation or the advanced commercial operation where complete EPDs, depth of pedigree and Embryo Transfer capability are important.  There is also provision for breed templates that provide seamless data exchange with breed associations.

Cost: $536 (Web) - $ 595 (Retail)


Interface with RFID Readers:

Cow COMM™ is the Cow Sense chute side component that can be loaded on a laptop computer and interfaces with EID readers, electronic scales, electronic measuring devices, LED signs, and electronic gates.  Cow COMM runs as a separate program but depends upon Cow Sense for reporting and analysis.  Cow COMM works real-time in the Cow Sense database and can access historical data, collect new data, make calculations as well as audible sort calls instantly. 

 Cow COMM does not require any hardware other than a computer to operate; however these devices can save time and improve accuracy.  The Cow COMM software provides the entire interface needed for RFID readers and any other hardware.  If the information is just being captured in a scale head that is not connected chute side to a computer, it later can be uploaded automatically through Cow COMM, or through the import feature of Cow Sense.  The most common approach is to have the scale connected directly to the computer chute side so the information flows directly into the Cow Sense database and can be used real-time.

 Hand held devices have become powerful enough to be useful data collection and field reference tools.  Pocket Cow Sense supports the use of the Windows Mobile devices with a serial interface adapter or with Bluetooth interface with  electronic RFID scanners.  Pocket Cow Sense also performs very well with integrated hardware such as the Agrident reader and Psion Workabout Pro.


Software Interface With:

AgInfo Link, Cabled, wireless (including Bluetooth) and pocket readers
Allflex, All, - Cabled, wireless (including Bluetooth) and pocket readers
AVID, Tag, Bolus and Implant reader
Destron, All - Cabled, wireless (including Bluetooth) and pocket readers
Y-Tex,  (See Ag Info Clip)
Agri!i!dent, KI-AIR200 for PSION Workabout PRO

Gallagher BR Panel Readers (600 & 1300), Cabled and wireless (including Bluetooth)


Records Collected:

Cow COMM allows the user to collect data manually or automatically.  Based upon data collected and data in the Cow Sense database, Cow COMM makes chute-side calculations for: ADG, WDA, frame score, and adjusted pelvic area, to name but a few.  In addition, user assigned defaults and validations save time and improve accuracy.  Cow COMM can also use data collected to help sort cattle into any type of groups chute-side or even for loading out trucks.  This allows users to make more sound management decisions based upon objective measures - uniformly applied.  Cow COMM can also be used to record the collection of DNA samples, submit them electronically through PIC, and receive the parentage information automatically back into Cow Sense.

On the other hand, Pocket Cow Sense allows the user to collect data in the field and return it to the Cow Sense database where it is batch processed through synchronization.  Pocket Cow Sense also has a desktop application, which is used to export data from Cow Sense to the handheld, and import data back in from the Pocket PC.  This provides validation and security to maintain the integrity of the Cow Sense herd file.

Another powerful feature of Cow Sense is that the data remains on the users’ computers, yet they can share this information with, and receive updates from, other segments of the industry.  This is accomplished through an export/import procedure or using automated file transfers through PIC.  PIC handles all of the data exchange protocols necessary to ensure reliable and accurate data exchange.


Manual Entry:

Yes, any data can be keyed in chute side.  In addition, in the event of equipment failure, or lack of equipment, we have Field Forms that allow the producer to manually record the visual ID and any additional information and import the EID number into the Cow Sense herd file.


Data Stored:

As described earlier, this is up to the user.  They can use the PDA for collecting data through Pocket Cow Sense and then synchronize and import back into Cow Sense on their desktop or laptop computer..  Cow COMM is primarily used chute sided to add data to existing records or create new animal records and record chute side events.  A PC With Cow Sense and Cow COMM chute side allows the user access to all existing data and they can sort and query to their custom criteria or specification.  Additional application is built into Cow COMM, for producers who maybe using an electronic scale head to capture the EID and VID chuteside.  In this situation the producer can retrieve the data from the scale head through a passive data exchange with Cow COMM as well.


Installation Costs:

There is no installation cost associated with our software, as it is a simple menu driven installation procedure.  However if the user needs assistance, telephone and e-mail support is provided at no cost if within their 30-day policy.  Virtual assistance is available via the Internet, provided that an active support plan is in place.


Computer Operating System:

Although an early version of Cow Sense was released in the MAC environment in the mid 1980’s, all recent versions of Cow Sense and all peripherals require, the Windows™ operating system.  It is important to realize that even though there are certain Windows patches for the Windows 98 and Windows 2000 products that if installed ensure proper functionality with present development platforms, however Windows XP or greater is recommended


Training Costs:

All Cow Sense products come with extensive documentation or User’s Guides that are written in layman’s terms.  However if the user desires additional training, we do offer User Training Courses.  Our scheduled Training courses range from $75 to $125 per day and are offered in various locations central to our clientele. 

More recently we have launched our Cow Sense College .  This is a virtual classroom environment that allows participants to dial in through the Internet to Online Training sessions.  The cost of these courses varies from basic to advanced instruction and length from $75 - $150.  Some courses include one-on-one consultation. 


Technical Support:

Documentation with Cow Sense products explains in detail program functions and capabilities.   Extensive help systems as well as electronic copies of the User’s Guide are included in the programs.  In addition online help is available simply by pushing the F1 key.  Key tips and tricks pop ups called “Bits and Spurs” are incorporated to guide users in specialized tasks.  Both Cow Sense and Sale Manager have great built-in search functions so you can easily find answers to your questions.  You may print any or all pages from the electronic copy, or if you prefer, pre-printed copies of the User’s Guides are available for a nominal cost.

Cow Sense Core Products (Cow Sense EZ – 75, Lite, Commercial, and Purebred)

With your purchase of a Cow Sense Core Product, customers receive our 30/30 Customer Service Plan.  The 30/30 Customer Service Plan will help ensure that they get started comfortably with their Cow Sense Core Product.  Customers receive 30 days or 30 minutes of technical/product support, whichever is of greater benefit to them.  The included support period begins with the first contact following activation (obtaining the Key) of their program, within 1 year from purchase.  This includes use of our toll free telephone number as well as e-mail support.  If, at the end of a customer’s 30 days, they have not used 30 minutes of technical/product support, the unused balance will be credited to them and remains available for their use when they need assistance with their Cow Sense Core Product.  If a customer uses 30 minutes of technical/product support before their 30 days expires, they will continue to receive assistance for their Cow Sense Core Product for the remainder of the 30-day period.

Cow Sense Sale Manager

With your purchase of Cow Sense Sale Manager, users receive 60 minutes of telephone or email support.   The 60 minutes will be credited to their account following activation of their Cow Sense Sale Manager program.  The 60 minutes will be available for assistance for Sale Manager or any other Cow Sense product.

Other Cow Sense Products

With your purchase of Cow Sense Cow COMM and pocket Cow Sense, users receive 30 minutes of telephone or email support.   The 30 minutes is credited to their account following activation of their program.  The 30 minutes will be available for assistance for Cow COMM Pocket Cow Sense or any other Cow Sense product. 



Technical Support Plan:

At Midwest MicroSystems, Customer Service is our top priority!  Each of our customers is an extension of our company and their ability to receive maximum benefit from our products is the true measure of our success.  We strive to make the Cow Sense family of products easy to use, yet capable of providing advanced analysis and superior information management.

Although technical/product support is a key service component to our customer, our focus is broader.  We want to support advanced use and maximize our customers’ satisfaction and benefits.  As a result, we have organized our Customer Service Center to provide the optimum benefit to you including, Technical/Product Support, Program Updates and Upgrades, and Herd Builds. 

Technical/Product Support is available on a fee-for-service basis via reasonably priced packages to meet customer’s individual needs following use or expiration of the included support for Cow Sense, Sale Manager,  Cow COMM, or Pocket Cow Sense.  Pre-paid Customer Service Plans make providing services more convenient for users.  Each plan is designed to meet specific technical/product support needs.  Customers can choose from a single plan or combine plans to meet their individual needs. 

The Cow Sense Corral

The Internet allows for rapid delivery of this service and we have made some major changes to our Customer Service area at the web.  We have consolidated some of our past services and enhanced them with powerful new features to provide users with the very best service available to the cow/calf producer.  These are available at the Cow Sense Corral.  User’s can review their account including past support questions and answers.  In addition users have access to the Cow Sense Forum, an online bulletin board, as well as a searchable Knowledgebase of all technical support issues and answers. 

We use a variety of support mechanisms, telephone, e-mail, web based bulletin boards and advanced dial in capabilities facilitate the ability to virtually look over the customers shoulder and observe the situation they are dealing with.  In addition our Send and Retrieve herd file, allows the client to easily send us their Cow Sense herd file so a diagnosis can be made, any repairs made if necessary, and return the herd all via built in FTP functionality.  


Cost of Technical Support:

VBS Direct.  Cost - $60 for 60 Customer Service Credits (minutes of support time).  Use for Priority 1 telephone and e-mail technical/product support.  Customers with an active Priority Customer Care plan have access to our toll-free telephone number.  The time we spend assisting clients is billed against the Customer Service Credits they have purchased.  Unused Customer Service Credits do not expire and can be exchanged on a dollar for dollar basis for product upgrades or applied toward purchase of any other Cow Sense product(s).

We maintain a database of all support services provided and supply clients with a support statement when their Customer Service Credit balance drops below 20 minutes or on request.  Customer’s support statements include a detailed record of each contact, the question(s) or support issue(s), the response and the resolution.  This provides them with a hard copy reference that can be filed and used again should you encounter the same situation.  This saves our customers time and money!  Customers can also view their customer support account on-line at the Cow Sense Corral.


Support Non-electronic Ave.:

Cow Sense Record Service is an option for customers that do not want to do the data entry but wish to utilize EID and Cow Sense reports for their herd management decisions.  Through this service we provide our customers the following:

Paper Field Forms/Centralized Data Entry (CDE) used for collection of on ranch information

EID Non-tech (manually matched to calf’s visual ID)

Electronic Data Exchange from Centralized Data Entry to Feedlot Data Systems

Standard production records returned to rancher for on ranch analysis and genetic improvement

Carcass and feeding data returned to ranch

Cow Sense Online – Secure web based reporting and benchmarking tool provided at no cost.

The costs involved in this service are as follows:Data Entry $1.50/animal record
EID Field form process $.20/tag (tag cost separately)
Electronic data exchange $.20/record from CDE to Feedlot

Additional Options:
Paper Field Forms used for recording Herd Health records – Cost $.25/record

Hard Copy Standard Reports mailed at an annual cost of $50.00/ ranch or location



Software Updated:

Registered Cow Sense users are notified of program updates as they become available.   Updates are portrayed by a change in the right portion of the version number, i.e. 4.4, 4.5, 4.6.  These updates are primarily maintenance releases, and are freely available for download from our Internet site.  The Auto Update function built into the Cow Sense Help Menu provides customers an automated routine to automatically retrieve and install updates with a few menu driven commands.  A fee (per update mailed) will be charged for shipping and handling to customers who wish to have the update mailed to them on CD or diskette.


Additional Costs:

Registered Cow Sense software users are notified of version upgrades to their licensed products as they become available.  Version upgrades include major enhancements to the program, which add value to the previous version(s).  Version upgrades are depicted by a change in the left part of the version number, i.e. 2.0, 3.0, 4.0.  These enhancements require substantial development resources and costs will depend upon the features included.  Version upgrades (within program mode) released within 12 months of purchase will be provided at no cost to the user, except for a nominal fee for shipping and handling.  Shipping and handling fees will be waived if upgrades are downloaded from the Internet. 


If No, Software Recommended:




Additional Cow Sense Peripheral Products include 

Sale Manager™, Assists seed stock producers or specialized commercial marketers to manage customer relations and animal sales.  The Producer Edition handles private treaty or small auction sales, while providing billing, customer history, and sale preparation.  Sale Manager is also available as a service in a high-end, networked version for managing large auction sales. Cost: $395 to Cow Sense users, $495 as a stand-alone installation. (Retail)

Cow COMM™ Is the Cow Sense chute-side tool.  It provides data acquisition in real time with its interfaces to electronic ID readers, electronic scales, electronic hip-height measuring devices, LED Signs, Bar Code Readers and automated sorting gates.  It also serves in-process decision making by referencing all historical animal information in combination with newly acquired data and providing automated, user pre-defined sorting protocols.  Cost: $195 (Retail)

Pocket Cow Sense™, Harnesses the mobile environment of the Pocket PC with the Cow Sense historical reference information to record data in the field “real-time and then synchronize back to a desk top computer.  Pocket Cow Sense makes recording calving, weaning and weighing data for calves or breeding, and preg check data on cows easy!  The Work List allows you to capture movements, processing, and shipping data on all classes of cattle.  The Treatments section provides a simple way of capturing animal health events and treatments administered in the field.  Pocket Cow Sense is compatible with EID and electronic scale heads as well! Cost: $195 (Retail)

PIC (Premium Interface Component) Contains data exchange protocols that integrate Cow Sense with industry partners.  Included are protocols for breed associations and beef production systems.  PIC uses a unique template mechanism to adapt the Cow Sense data structure to specific applications.  It also employs a proprietary Internet File Transfer Protocol tool that supports the data transfers using our secure Internet site. Cost: $100 (Retail)

Cow Sense Online Is a web-active, secure Internet central database service for comparative analysis and benchmarking.  It provides Cow Sense users a means of evaluating their herd performance in comparison with other participants in the service. COST: - This is an included feature in Cow Sense.  There is NO additional cost for this service

Cow Sense Power Tools provides advanced capabilities for power users of Cow Sense.  We have accommodated these needs through building utility programs that ran outside of Cow Sense yet accessed the Cow Sense database.  Cost: $135 (Retail) and includes:

CALENDAR PRO. Although Cow Sense Version 4.74 contains a simple calendar tool, the Calendar Pro in Power Tools provides more advanced features.  However the most valuable feature may be that you can update Calendar Pro from  data previously recorded in Cow Sense. 

COW MOOVER.  We have incorporated Cow Moover with Cow Sense Power Tools.  Cow Moover has application to those customers who have multiple Cow Sense herds and need to be able to conveniently move cow or bull records between herds.

JOIN REPORT.  This tool provides users with the ability to design reports that access data in different tables and merges them into a combined or joined report.

MATING PLANNER.  This tool is designed to assist Cow Sense Purebred users to set goals for their intended calf crop EPDs.  Select cows and bulls to be considered, set the EPD parameters, and the Mating Planner will generate a list of matings for each cow with all bulls that will meet user’s goals! 


Performance Pedigree.  A picture can say 1,000 words.   With Power Tools you can add pictures and print a 5-generation Performance Pedigree!  What a great tool to enhance your marketing efforts!  You can also add your company logo or brand to the pedigree and print, with or without a picture.


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