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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Ration Balancing Software: DAIR4, NRC Dairy, Spartan, CNCPS, and CPM

Dairy Pipeline: March 2003

Charles C. Stallings
Extension Dairy Scientist, Nutrition
(540) 231-4758
email: cstallin@vt.edu

Ration formulation software has evolved with the increased power of modern day computers. Some programs (DAIR4 and Spartan) are setup similar to spreadsheets using rows as feeds and columns as nutrients with calculation of ration nutrient level compared to standard requirements. Other programs (NRC Dairy, CNCPS, and CPM) are more models of how feeds are digested and the internal transformations quantified. Many assumptions are made in these processes but it does help put numbers to biological processes to understand more about them. I have listed each program and given a contact and location where they can be obtained. Demo's are available for all five programs if you are interested in using for ration formulation or evaluation.

Program name: DAIR4 Program type: Ration evaluator Latest version: 99.281 Cost: No charge off internet URL location: www.dasc.vt.edu Contact person: Charlie Stallings (540-231-4758 or cstallin@vt.edu) Description: Calculates the nutrient content of a given ration for replacements, dry cows, and lactating cows. Adjustments made by user to balance. Requirements are the 1989 NRC. Calculates the cost per cow per day to feed the animal. Versions available in Spanish.

Program name: Dairy NRC Program type: Nutrient generator with ration evaluation Latest version: 2001 Cost: No charge off internet; $59.95 for book & CD URL location: www.nap.edu/catalog/9825.html Contact person: Charlie Stallings (540-231-4758 or cstallin@vt.edu) Description: Calculates nutrient needs of individual animals taking into consideration environmental factors. All classes of female dairy animals considered. Does not calculate cost of ration. Does have a nutrient evaluator. Energy and rumen degradable/undegradable protein values for feeds vary with changes in animal's physiological state mainly as a result of changes in dry matter intake.

Program name: Spartan Program type: Ration evaluator/balancer Latest version: 2.02 Cost: No charge for demo version; $100 for users URL location: www.msu.edu/user/ssl Contact person: Herb Bucholtz (517-355-8432 or bucholtz@msu.edu) Description: Evaluates and balances rations for replacements, dry cows, and lactating cows using 1989 NRC requirements. New version with 2001 NRC requirements expected in 2004. Calculates ration cost.

Program name: CNCPS Cornell net carbohydrate and protein system Program type: Ration evaluator/optimizer Latest version: 4.00.31 (5.0.18 being tested) Cost: No charge for demo version; $350 for users URL location: 128.253.135.170/CuNMPS/on-line.htm Contact person: Tom Tylutki (607-255-2255 or tptl@Cornell.edu) Description: Evaluates and optimizes rations for replacements, dry cows, and lactating cows as well as beef animals. Some calculations may not conform to 2001 NRC but most will. Calculates ration cost per cow per day. More applicable for whole herd feed planning and nutrient management than CPM Dairy.

Program name: CPM Dairy (Cornell, Penn, and Minor Institute) Program type: Ration evaluator/optimizer/least cost formulation Latest version: 2.0.21 (2.0.23 being tested) Cost: No charge for demo version; $350 for users URL location: mail.vet.upenn.edu/~ejjancze/ Contact person: E. J. Jancze (610-444-5800 or ejjamcze@vet.upenn.edu) Description: This program is a refinement of the CNCPS program and is designed for field application. Much of the internal calculation is similar to CNCPS but has a nonlinear optimizer that allows least cost formulation. Software program is ordered from Cornell and is associated with CNCPS contact above.



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