An easy-to-use computer program developed at Texas A&M University can help dairy and beef producers plan and monitor their grazing programs more profitably, say its developers.

The program, which improves on an earlier DOS-based version, is dubbed The Grazing Manager and works with Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT, says Ray Hinnant, who developed the program with Mort Kothmann. Both are rangeland management specialists at Texas A&M.

"The program provides a framework for you to develop pasture and livestock inventories and effective grazing plans that will meet your production objectives," says Hinnant. "It can be used anywhere and on almost any type of forage system."

The program includes an explanation of grazing concepts, definitions of key terms and descriptions of how the program is designed to function. It can assist in the development of continuous or rotational grazing plans, he says.

"While most managers probably make a mental model of their grazing plans, they rarely sit down and write out a grazing plan because it's very difficult to do. This program puts a plan into a graphical, numerical format that's easy to understand."

Users input the following data: the time period they'll be grazing, size of area that will be grazed, the stocking rate, estimated grazing pressure (light, moderate or heavy), type of animals to be grazed and their estimated weight at the beginning and end of the grazing period.

Using those inputs, the program provides graphical analysis and printed reports of how much forage will be produced and used in each paddock or pasture over a certain time period. By looking at the analysis, producers can determine if they'll have enough or too much forage, says Hinnant. If they're short, they may choose to reduce the stocking rate or supplement with baled hay. If they have too much forage, they might want to increase the stocking rate.

As the grazing season progresses, users can input new data or modify existing data to reflect changes.

For more information or to order, contact Ray Hinnant, Dept. RLEM-TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2126. Phone: 409/845-5580; fax: 409/845-6430, The program costs $199.

This Texas-based software can be used anywhere.