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Beef Cattle Production Record Keeping

Production records are important to ranch management. Records help track inventory, project future calving dates, and monitor performance. Records also help monitor change over time and progress toward goals. Producers use records to track traits that are economically important.

Find cattle scoring info on feet and udders, guidelines, factsheets, and record forms. Plus, discover recommended cattle record keeping software below.


Cow Hair

Hair and Coat Shedding Score 

The ideal time to evaluate hair coat shedding is at the start and end of the spring breeding season 


Score Coat
5 Full Winter Coat
4 Coat has some shedding
3 Coat is about half shed
2 Coat is mostly shed, but has some remaining patches
1 Coat is fully shed to a slick summer coat 
A cow hudder that is very full

Teat and Udder Score 

Udder and teat scores should be taken within 24 hour after calving, preferably by one person and on the weakest quarter. 

American Hereford: Udder Score

Score Udder Suspension Teat Size
9 Very Tight Very Small
7 Tight Small
5 Intermediate Intermediate
3 Pendulous Large
1 Very Pendulous/Broken Floor Balloon Shape

Source: Beef Improvement Federation Guidelines 9th Edition 

Drawing of a cow pelvis

Pelvic Area

Guide to measuring pelvic area. The pelvic area is calculated by multiplying vertical and horizontal dimensions of the internal pelvic opening. 

Pelvic Area Measurements in the Management of Replacement Heifers 

Age of Heifer

Pelvic Area (cm^2)

Division Factor Est. Calf Size (pounds) without assistance

12-14 mos. (600 lbs)










18-19 mos. (1,800 lbs)










Cow hoof with the perfect amount of curl

Foot Score

Guides for determining foot score, using cattle foot angle and claw set. Scores should be determined prior to hoof trimming.


Score Claw Set Foot Angle
1 Extremely weak, very open, divergent: unsound Extremely straight, short toed: unsound
2 Open, divergent: marginally unsound Straight front and rear pasterns: marginally unsound
3 Moderately open/divergent Moderately straight front and rear pasterns
4 Slightly open/divergent Slightly straight front and rear pasterns
5 Ideal. symmetrical

Ideal. Approximately 45-degree angle from hoof to pastern joint to leg with good toe length and heel depth. 

6 Slight claw curl Slightly shallow heel and long toe
7 Slight claw curl with one claw becoming noticeably greater than the other Moderately shallow heel and long toe with somewhat weak pasterns 
8 Moderate scissor/screw appearance: marginally unsound Shallow heel and long toe: marginally unsound
9 Extreme scissor or screw claw with excessive curling: unsound Extremely shallow heel and long toe with extremely weak pasterns: unsound 

Source: American Angus Association

Foot Scores and Angle Scores could be reported separate or combined (such as 15). 

Cattle Teeth Diagram

Aging Cattle 

A guide fo determining the age if cattle by teeth courtesy of The Stockman's Handbook by Ensminger, 2nd Edition. 

Aging Cattle By Teeth
A thin tan cow stands in a pasture. It is looking at the photographer.

Body Condition Score 

Guide to body condition scores for cattle. 


Condition BCS Description
Very thin 1 Emaciated
Thin 2 Poor
Slightly less thin 3 Thin
Borderline 4 Borderline
Ideal 5 Moderate
Slightly larger 6 Good
Fat 7 Very goof
Fatter 8 Fat
Fattest 9 Obese

Source: Beef Improvement Federation Guidelines 9th Edition

Ideal times to BCS cattle are 90d pre-calving, calving, breeding, weaning. 

Black cow with two blue ear tags looks at the camera

Year Letter Designation 

A guide to using international year/letter designations for animal identification.


International letters are designated for each year of birth. This option is easy to use in conjunction with numbers. For example, X001 and X002 might be used to indicate the first and second calf corn in the year 2010. 

Note: The letters I, O, Q, and V are not used. 

  • A: 1969/ 1991/ 2013
  • B: 1970/ 1992/ 2014
  • C: 1971/ 1993/ 2015
  • D: 1972/ 1994/ 2016
  • E: 1973/ 1995/ 2017
  • F: 1974/ 1996/ 2018
  • G: 1975/ 1997/ 2019
  • H: 1976/ 1998/ 2020
  • J: 1977/ 1999/ 2021
  • K: 1978/ 2000/ 2022
  • L: 1979/ 2001/ 2023
  • M: 1980/ 2002/ 2024
  • N: 1981/ 2003/ 2025
  • P: 1982/ 2004 / 2026
  • R: 1983/ 2005/ 2027
  • S: 1984/ 2006/ 2028
  • T: 1985/ 2007/ 2029
  • U: 1986/ 2008/ 2030
  • W: 1987/ 2009/ 2031
  • X: 1988/ 2010/ 2032
  • Y: 1989/ 2011/ 2033
  • Z: 1990/ 2012/ 2034

Source: Beef Improvement Federation Guidelines 9th Edition 

Beef Improvement Federation Logo

BIF Guidelines 

Guidelines is a publication of the Beef Improvement Federation that outlines procedures for recording beef cattle performance data. 

2018 BIF Guidelines
Small herd of brown cattle with green ear tags in a pen

Herd Reproductive Screening Sheet

This chute side worksheet is used for recording animal type, weight, body condition score, reproduction tract score, and pelvic measurements. There is also a comments column that can be used for additional scores, such as disposition, or health notes. 

Herd Reproductive Screening Sheet


Extension Publications

Extension Forms

  • AG803 - Livestock and Forage Record Book
    AG803 is a pocket book that can be ordered through your County Extension Agent. It contains management tips and record-keeping resources for cattle and forages. 


Record Keeping Software

Company Name Cloud Access
Cattle Max Yes
Herdone Yes
Cow Sense Limited
Cattle Pro No
BovIQ Mobile Device