26 June 1998

Software aids winter ration accuracy

AN interactive computer program which is claimed to take the guess-work out of winter feeding dairy and beef cattle and sheep was launched at this weeks Highland Show by the Scottish Agricultural College.

College principal, Phil Thomas, himself a nutritionist, said he had seldom been so excited about a development. "It is the culmination of three years of work and we have taken that time to make sure it is right. It is one of the biggest advances we have been able to offer the livestock industry and it fills a real need to improve feed analysis and winter ration strategies," he said.

Called FeedByte, the software will be available through SAC advisers, who will offer the service at three levels. The most sophisticated will offer a winter feeding strategy based on an analysis of the farmers own rations and taking account of other feed available. It will also monitor winter livestock performance against the feeding plan and adjust rations when necessary.

The service is also available without the review of performance throughout the winter. The third level offers to check, at any stage during the winter, that rations are meeting animal performance. &#42