A user friendly, free computer-based dairy nutritional program to help farmers formulate cost-effective diets.
Dairy Australia has supported the development of a number of different tools which farmers can use to help them make more informed decisions regarding cow nutrition.
Rumen8 is a user friendly, free computer-based dairy nutritional program to help farmers formulate cost-effective diets. This will ensure the correct balance of energy, protein, fibre, minerals and other nutritional components for Australian dairy cows at different stages of production. It can be used regularly by dairy farmers to adjust their dairy cow diets with periodic help from a nutritionist.
The emphasis on ease-of-use sets Rumen8 apart from many other dairy nutrition programs. This makes the program ideal for quickly creating or checking cow diets by farm managers, owners and visiting nutritionists.
Rumen8 can be downloaded for free from the Rumen8 website. It has been developed with financial support from Dairy Australia and a number of government and not-for-profit organisations.
Also available from the Rumen8 website is the Rumen8 Feed Companion Manual. This manual provides a summary of typical nutritional values of the most common feeds used for Australian dairy cows. It covers over 160 feeds including cereal grains, protein meals and by-products, as well as grazed and conserved pastures and other forages.
This review is a technical document for nutrition advisors. It reviews 11 computer-based dairy nutritional models which can be chosen to make animal nutrition decisions for dairy businesses. The review compares nutrition models for functionality, sensitivity to data inputs and strengths and weaknesses. As it is more than 10 years old, it is no longer up-to-date. However, it still provides some useful guidance on the range of nutrition models that are available.
The review covers these nutrition models:
Dairy farmers can manage their herd feed requirements and feed budget with the Feed Budgeting Tool.
Having a feed budget is essential to making the best decisions in regard to managing feed requirements throughout the season.
The Feed Budgeting Tool helps farmers look at feed supply and feed demand over a three, six, nine or 12-month period to assist with making good tactical decisions in regard to feeding cows.
Download Dairy Australia's Feed Budgeting tool.
Note: It is recommended that this spreadsheet is only opened on a computer (compatible with Windows and Apple). This tool is supported by the following versions of Excel: Windows - 2010 (v14), 2013 (v15) and 2016 (v16). Apple - 2011 (v14) and 2016 (v15). Mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, may not be fully compatible.
The development of the Pasture Consumption Calculator was jointly funded by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria. It provides the Australian dairy industry with a robust, scientifically sound method for back-calculating on-farm pasture utilisation (tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year) and an estimation of annual feed conversion efficiency of the milking herd.
The Pasture Consumption Calculator (currently unavailable) can be accessed on the Pasture Consumption Calculator website. Users will need to create an account with their email address before using the tool.
This calculator is based on generalised equations of ruminant requirements of metabolisable energy for various physiological processes published in 'Nutrient Requirements of Domesticated Ruminants' (CSIRO, 2007). It differs from other approaches which do not fully account for metabolisable energy requirements.
The primary purpose of estimating home-grown feed consumption on the farm or milking area is to benchmark performance of the farm over time. This is particularly important as cow genetics and feeding systems on individual farms are continually changing.
Understanding pasture consumption on-farm helps determine how much fodder is grown and harvested from the farm milking area. It also helps to measure the requirement for brought-in feed. This is particularly valuable when considering budgets and requirements for brought-in feeds such as grains, pellets, hay or silage.
This is the most basic level of the Pasture Consumption Calculator and it works with a three-step process designed to generate a quick estimation of pasture consumption.
Enter details about the farm milking area, the herd, feed produced on the farm and brought-in feeds
Pick questions of interest and the calculator provides answers relating to pasture consumed and the energy in the feeds on offer
Answers are generated using entered details and industry averages
Entries can be saved by creating an account. Users can upgrade to the intermediate version and details are copied over.
Note: Additional information will be required to ensure the intermediate version works correctly.
The intermediate calculator requires more inputs to achieve better estimates of pasture consumed on the farm milking area. Entries can be saved by creating an account.
Users can upgrade further to the advanced version and details are copied over.
Note: Additional information will be required to ensure the advanced version works correctly.
The advanced calculator requires more detailed inputs relating to the feed provided to each class of stock. The result is a more personalised and accurate estimate of pasture consumed on the farm milking area.
Feed test results and accurate estimations of cow liveweights are required for the advanced calculator.
This tool is designed for use by researchers. In addition, the calculator also provides an estimation of annual feed conversion efficiency of the milking herd plus estimates of tonnes of dry matter per 100 millimetres of water used.
Dairyinfrastructure.com.au is an online tool to help farmers make informed decisions in regard to dairy infrastructure projects. It is an initiative supported by Agriculture Victoria and Dairy Australia.
The website contains useful information for dairy farmers considering investing in a feedpad or barn system, as well as an online Microsoft Excel calculator to help cost any potential investment in a new feeding facility.
The tool is available on the Dairyinfrastructure.com.au website.