Forage prices are high, and that makes the ration-balancing program CowByte$ all the more valuable, says a provincial forage specialist.
“When feed costs make up approximately 70 per cent of the variable cost of keeping a cow over winter, anything that can be done to reduce costs improves net profit,” said Barry Yaremcio.
“For every $1 winter feed costs are reduced, net return or benefit to the operation is $4.28.”
CowByte$ allows producers to make the best use of their own feed and reduce feed purchases, he said. And alternative feeds or byproducts can not only reduce winter feeding costs, but improve nutrition, he added.
Providing a cost-efficient balanced ration also impacts cow productivity.
“Pregnant and lactating cows that have an adequate ration that meets nutritional requirements impacts milk production and reproductive performance in the next breeding season,” said Yaremcio. “Having more cows conceive earlier in the breeding season increases the number of calves available to sell (and possibly larger calves) which increases total income.”
CowByte$ is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 operating systems. It can also be run on a Mac in conjunction with Boot Camp, Parallels, Fusion or Crossover. The program costs $50 and can be found at agriculture.alberta.ca.