Black cows eating green grass.

NDSU Extension Releases Updated Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software

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For almost 40 years, the Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS) program has provided beef producers with a reliable herd management tool, including benchmarks to assess herd performance.

Since its initial development, NDSU Extension has updated CHAPS to CHAPS II (with improvements to the original program), followed by an update to CHAPS 2000, a program for Windows 2000.

“Online data management and analysis programs are increasingly common in agriculture,” says Zac Carlson, NDSU Extension beef cattle specialist. “To serve this need, NDSU Extension developed CHAPS Online, a web-based application where users log in and enter, store securely and access their cow herd data. This eliminates the need to install and use CHAPS on a single computer and allows data access from any location through an internet connection.”

CHAPS Online, developed through the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association (NDBCIA), allows farmers and ranchers to input and track their herds performance based on a set of benchmarks.

CHAPS Online offers a variety of herd reports. The Calf Performance Report displays the number of calves born, died and sold; individual calf birth and weaning data; calf weight and growth benchmark averages.

The Cow Lifetime Progeny Report lists all cows in the herd, including cow data, average calf performance data and individual calf data for each cow.

“These are just two of the reports that can be generated to assess herd performance,” says Carlson. “Ranchers can only manage what they measure, and this new version of CHAPS makes it even easier to measure and track data. We believe this will be a powerful tool for ranchers to improve their cow herd.”

“We like using the CHAPS program to track our cow-calf performance,” says Amy Miller, of the Miller/ Bauman Ranch outside of Ashley, North Dakota. “It is quick and easy to look up records for any cow, calf or sire in our herd. CHAPS is useful when making herd management decisions such as choosing replacement heifers and cull cows to keep our herd uniform.”

Extension specialists in Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia have expressed interest in using the NDSU Extension CHAPS Online software to pilot similar systems.


CHAPS Online Software 

Zac Carlson, 701-231-1884,