Why start a new season?
There are lots of great reasons for starting a new season in PastureMap. Keeping yourself organized is the biggest one! Separate your records and metrics for each of your grazing seasons. Using seasons in PastureMap has multiple benefits: a clean start, organizing your past data, accurate pasture performance metrics, and comparing across seasons for future planning.
When should you start a new season?
The second question we get is when should they start a new season? This is entirely dependent on your location and operation type. Ranches with high seasonal variability will typically separate their records into two seasons per year: one for the dormant and one for the growing season. Other operations choose to have just one season a year.
Other operations choose to base their season start date on when they are receiving/shipping animals. For example, it may make sense for a cow-calf operation to start a new season when animals are weaned. It does not matter which you choose, but we do recommend that you stay consistent with your season start date(s) so that you can have an accurate comparison point.
Once you have decided how you will structure your seasons you want to first make sure your herds and records are in order (as it is more difficult to make changes to historic seasons).
Can I make changes to a past season?
Yes, you can go back to past seasons and edit your records, change pasture boundaries, add or remove infrastructure, and add or remove hay supplement. Just go into the Ranch dropdown menu and select the past season and make your changes. Any changes to pastures, infrastructure, and grazing records you make to a past season will only affect that season. Changes to animals such as weights and IDs will apply to all seasons, however.
Things to think about before ending a season:
Before ending a season, ask yourself the following questions:
Are your moves up to date? If not, you can update these before ending a season. You can do this by adding historical records.
Do you separate animals into different groups before shipping?
IF you are shipping your animals in multiple groups, it may be easiest to create a separate "Shipping Herd" to move animals into. You can more easily weigh/ mark animals as sold
If you send animals to a specific location (ex. feedlot or leased property) you can create a separate herd and move animals into these groups as well.
More info on moving animals between herds
Do you have animal weights?
If you're ending a season, now is your last chance to add final weights for your animals. You can do this for some or all of your animals, either by sending us an excel of individual weights or an average weight for the group.
The cool part is that we will use this information to calculate actual ADG as well as update the amount of forage that was taken away from pastures.
More info on adding animal weights
What happened to your animals?
PastureMap allows you to mark animals as culled, dead, sold, or slaughtered. If you aren't bringing your animals into the new season, it is recommended that you mark them as one of the above.
Should I retire my herds?
Once you have taken care of shipping, weights, and marking the status of the animal, you are now in a position to start a new season.
If you plan on keeping the same animals in the new season, there is no need to retire the herd.
If you are using a different group of animals for the next season, we recommend retiring the herd so that your "Active Herds" tab doesn't become cluttered. While retiring a herd removes it from the active herd tab, all of your records will still be saved.
To retire a herd, select the herd name and then click the folder icon that appears right after it.
You shouldn't retire a herd if you still need to add in moves, notes, weights, or mark the animal as culled/sold. Retiring herds should be the last step of ending a season.
More info on retiring herds