The FeedSmart feed calculator uses a model developed by FarmIQ to calculate feed requirements for animals, and allows you to calculate pasture/crop usage when moving animals to paddocks.
This calculator determines the Megajoules of Metabolisable Energy (MJME) required by livestock based on a variety of factors. It then determines how much dry matter is needed to fulfil this requirement - this uses a conversion rate of 10.8 MJME = 1kgDM as the default, but you can override this in the Settings screen (for instance, if the animals are being fed crops with a higher energy level).
By default, the calculator determines how much feed the animals need today. You can however change the start date, which allows you to determine how much feed animals will need at a future date. This is useful when animals are gaining weight or pregnant, because their demands in the future will be different from their demands today.
The calculator takes into account the following:
- Maintenance requirements: How much feed does an animal need to maintain its current weight? This takes into account the current weight of the animal, and the type of land the animal is grazing on
- Animal growth: How much feed does an animal require to gain a specified amount of weight each day? This takes into account how much weight the animal is gaining, the size of the breed and their stock class. For instance, a ram lamb has different requirements from a ewe lamb.
- Pasture/crop quality: What is the impact of the feed quality on animals? Animals need more MJME/day where the feed is a lower quality.
- Pregnancy: How much extra feed does a pregnant dam require? This depends on the scanning % of the dam, how far through the pregnancy the dam is (as calculated from the mating date), and the predicted birth weight of the offspring.
- Lactation: How much extra feed does a lactating dam require? This depends on the birthing %, how long ago the offspring were born (as calculated from the mating date), and the weaning weight of the offspring.
Once you have calculated the requirements for a single animal, you can perform an allocation for a mob of animals using the allocation tool. This allows you to calculate the following:
- Days in paddock: How long can the mob be left in a paddock? This uses the starting cover, and determines how long the animals can remain in the paddock, assuming a required residual cover. This takes into account the pasture growth rate, and also takes into account changing animals needs throughout the period e.g. the animals are gaining weight, and therefore require extra feed for maintenance. This option will only predict the number of days up to 50 days, because pasture and animal growth is likely to be unpredictable for longer periods.
- Residual cover: This is the opposite of the Days in paddock option. It determines how many days the animals can be left in the paddock to maintain the required residual cover.
- Number of animals: How many animals can be left in a paddock for a given number of days? This takes into account the starting cover, and the required residual cover.
- Size of paddock break: How long should you make a paddock break to account for animal demand.
Two additional factors impact the allocation results:
- Supplementary feed: You can include supplementary feed (kgDM per head per day) in your calculations. The energy (MJME) of the supplementary feed can be specified in the settings. Supplementary feed is always consumed before pasture/crops when determining allocation results.
- Feed utilisation: How much of the feed is consumed by animals, and how much is wasted. This can be specified in the Settings, and defaults to 90% utilisation. The value entered affects both pasture/crops and supplementary feed.
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