Volatile agricultural markets, high input costs and rising capital requirements for farm operations emphasize the importance of timely, accurate records in helping pork producers make effective risk management decisions. To assist in that task, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach will conduct a workshop on the latest version of the Group Tracker, a Microsoft Excel®-based program that compiles production data into summary reports to better define your swine business and production parameters.

 Mark Storlie, Iowa State Extension swine program specialist and Group Track developer, will present the workshop on Wednesday, April 4, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Borlaug Learning Center, 3327 290th St., Nashua, Iowa.

Producers interested in taking their closeout records to the next level are encouraged to attend the workshop, Storlie says. Both current and potential Group Tracker users are welcome.

“We are excited to announce the newest release of Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) Group Tracker with version 1.50,” he says. “Group Tracker was developed to provide standardized reporting formats and is designed to accommodate different types of feed manufacturing/diet receiving/deliveries for flexible recording and ease of use.”

Input reports help producers, growers and lenders determine marketing strategies and production benchmarks. The software can be purchased on a data-sharing basis, as well as a non-sharing basis. The cost for producers within Iowa is $30, with data sharing, $100 without sharing. For producers outside of Iowa, the cost is $50 with data sharing, $150 without sharing.

“Submitting individual closeouts to the regional swine specialist allows a database to be established for each producer, with benefits of the ability to benchmark, make comparisons and look for trends,” Storlie adds. “We can make comparisons within a farm’s buildings, genetics, nutritional programs or management practices. With an adequate number of closeouts, we can make comparisons with the entire Group Tracker database, assuming data sharing is included.”

IPIC is the main access for Group Tracker and other software programs, which you can find here. However, the Group Tracker will be available for purchase at the workshop.

There is no cost to attend the workshop, but preregistration is encouraged to ensure that adequate materials are available. Current Group Tracker users, as well as those interested in this software, are welcome and invited to attend. Call the Fayette County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office at (563) 425-3331 to preregister.

For additional information, contact Mark Storlie at (563) 425-3331 or e-mail mstorlie@iastate.edu.