Nowadays, anyone starting out in feed calculation often does not know where to begin to ensure a good feed is formulated. There are thousands of sources both in literature and on the internet which give advice and recommendations about countless important nutrients and pollutants.
What to do as a beginner?
To evaluate rations or mixes correctly, you first need to have a very sound knowledge of agricultural feedstock. This should also include the relevant analysis methods for the individual feedstock and an awareness of the available laboratory analyses.
Particularly in today’s very internationally-oriented animal feed industry, one must be aware that one can’t simply compare data from all countries and then choose those one considers “the best”.
In order to learn quickly and successfully, one should concentrate on one’s immediate locality, or region, in which the business is based. This will show which feedstock or feed is available within the region. One must consider also what kind of additional feedstock is commonly sold within the region. (Most dairy cow TMRs contain, on average, less than 10 different feedstocks; Concentrated feed generally also has less than 20 components.)
The next area to learn about is the kind of animals within the region that need feeding. From this, one should get a good understanding of the statutory requirement specifications with a manageable number of nutrients (up to 10 nutrients per animal type), their restrictions and effects on the feed.
This knowledge such be sufficient to develop the first recipes for any normal livestock or domestic animal.
One HYBRIMIN® datafile contains several hundred different nutrients. These are always needed if one wants to ensure high performance in growth or milk output.
Feed calculation beginners often make the mistake of thinking a feeding programme for a high-performance animal requires 50 different feedstocks with just as many minimum restrictions and therefore cannot find a solution to the problem!
To learn animal nutrition and feed formulation, one must continually extend one’s knowledge and not try to include and calculate every possible nutrient. Many nutrients are only relevant for the highest performance animals!