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Easily create dairy cow diets

Rumen8 allows farmers and consultants to easily manage dairy cow and heifer diets to increase production and reduce costs. An emphasis on ease of use sets it apart from many other nutrition applications which makes it ideal for quickly creating or checking cow diets by farm managers, owners and visiting nutritionists.

Rumen8 provides an easy interface allowing creation and adjustment of diets while exploring changes in production and margins.  Much more sophisticated nutrition models are available but require more feed information and considerably more time and knowledge to determine suitable diets, restricting their usefulness on farm. Rumen8 has been used by the authors for well over a decade to manage the diets of research herds as it provided good predictions of cow performance on the pasture based diets common in the Australian dairy industry.

It was originally developed by the staff of the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia as an ‘in-house’ tool for managing the dairy herds on the Vasse Research Station near Busselton, Western Australia. Ownership has now been transferred to Western Dairy and Dairy Australia who are funding further development.

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What does Rumen8 do?

Rumen8 allows the user to design a diet from up to 15 feeds or mixes and ensure a cow’s dietary needs are met. Multiple diets can be stored and compared and the difference between feed price and return from milk calculated. Reports can be printed or saved as PDF files.

Rumen8 uses a relatively simple nutrition model that we have found accurate enough over many years using it on farms and Research Stations. More sophisticated models of dairy cow nutrition exist but they require a higher level of user knowledge, depend on less readily available and more expensive feed analyses, and require more time to use. We have found that Rumen8 provides a good balance between ease and speed of use and performance that is fitting for the pasture-dominated dairy diets common in Australia.

Dairy Australia independently evaluated Rumen8 version 1 (many years before they owned it) against a range of nutrition models in use in Australia at the time and it performed admirably. You can read the report yourself as it is available from the Archive page and the Dairy Australia web site (A review of 11 applied dairy nutrition models used in Australia, 2009). The nutrition model in Rumen8 3 is unchanged from version 1.

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