AGRI-NEWS / A new version of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development s Cowbytes cattle-feeding software has been developed and is slated for release soon.
ARD says Cowbytes helps producers make optimum use of their homegrown feeds, while only purchasing the necessary volume of supplementary feeds and taking advantage of lower-cost alternative feeds or byproducts.
Most producers can find $1,000 in feed savings using this program to prevent over-or underfeeding and to scout for cheaper alternative feeds, while still getting the performance they desire, says Patrick Ramsey, a business development specialist with ARD.
The Cowbytes program allows producers to select the type of cattle they want to feed and the productivity levels they want to achieve based on body weight, average daily gain in growing cattle, body condition score, stage of gestation or milk production level in cows. Producers can also adjust for climatic conditions such as temperature, wind speed, and mud in pens as well as for hide thickness and summer or winter hair coat depth.
The program comes with a feed table based on the average values of Alberta feeds. Producers can modify the nutrient content of the feeds listed on the table based on their own feed test results, says Barry Yaremcio, beef/ forage specialist with ARD.
Custom feeding and feed inventory reports can also be generated. These features help producers to make decisions about purchasing feed in advance or selling animals to match feed inventory with cattle requirements.
One of the new features of Cowbytes Version 5 is a yardage calculator. This allows producers to enter their facility, equipment and operating costs (such as taxes, insurance, veterinary services, utilities, repairs, fuel, labour), along with the number of cattle and the number of days on feed to determine the yardage costs per head per day.
The Cowbytes program manual has also been expanded to include a beef ration rules of thumb section and a primer on cattle nutrition.
Producers will soon be able to download the demo copy of Cowbytes or purchase it through ARD s website ( www.agriculture.alberta.ca).