This tool evaluates grouping strategies for feeding lactating dairy cattle. It uses different criteria to group cows, optimizes the cows belonging to a feeding group, suggests a group diet ration based on Net Energy (NEL, MCal/lb) and Crude Protein (CP, %), computes the expected Income Over Feed Cost (IOFC), and the additional economic benefits of feed grouping after additional costs of management, labor and an expected milk depression on lactating cows re-grouped.
A herd test file is needed to use the tool. This should contain information regarding Cow ID, Lactation, Days in Milk (DIM), Milk Produced, and Milk Fat Content. Optionally, for more accurate calculations, Body Weight (BW) could be added (if BW is not provided, the tool calculates BW based on lactation and DIM after a user-entered average BW for primiparous and multiparous cows). The tab with name upload farm details helps the user upload an excel file with those parameters. It is suggested to first download the parameters file to a local computer and then use this as a template to enter farm specific data. The tool will always indicate which file is being used. The number of lactating cows in the file will be automatically counted and displayed. Also in this tab the user defines indirectly the price of feed energy ($/MCal) and feed protein ($/ lb CP), which are based on nutritive content and prices of refereed feeds (Corn and Soybean meal). The user can over-write these calculated values, if desired.
Once the data have been entered, the user could move to the tab with name 'Group Cows'. This tab is self-explanatory and follows a decision tree structure to help the user analyze grouping strategies. After following the questions in the decision tree, the user could hit the 'Analyze' button and get the results in the 'Reap Benefits' tab. This last tab of the tool ('Reap Benefits') displays the economic benefit of different group strategies compared to the farm defined current strategy.
|Calculated Values||User Input|
Milk Price ($/cwt)
Using Data from Default Parameters File on Server
Please enter the size of each group that you can handle.