Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 25

FeedStrategy ❙ 25

Spreadsheets
Feed formulation with computers was possible for all practical reasons since we had the first spreadsheet programs,
such as Lotus 1-2-3, Excel or Numbers. They are still
useful for exercises such as making simple formulas
without the need for paper, pencil and calculator.
For Excel, there is an add-on feature, called Solver,
that enables least-cost formulation, something that hopefully will be introduced to other operating systems. Thus,
one does not need expensive feed formulation software
to formulate a few even complicated formulas once leastcost formulation is enabled. It does not require knowledge
of programming to use the feature of Solver, but it takes
some serious knowledge in handling Excel.

Programming
In code, least-cost formulation is no more than a
couple of A4 pages of paper long. I recall programming my first least-cost formulation program as an
undergraduate using IBM's Fortran 95 code. It was
easy enough once I had secured the code and I was
even able to make modifications to allow for variable
inputs, but again, it was for just a few formulas and not
a commercial tool. Nevertheless, hiring a programmer
to create a least-cost formulation software is not costprohibiting - at least the part of feed formulation.
Where things start to get cumbersome is when one
has to handle hundreds of ingredients, and an equal
number of nutrients, not to mention countless formula
templates, and of course finished formulas that require
storage, quick retrieval and often mass reformulation.
Database - as it is called - programming can be a
nightmare and it becomes less and less responsive with
increasing size. That is why most commercial nutrition
professionals use professional feed formulation software.

Picking the right software
Not all software systems are equal, as they differ in their
functions depending on whether one is a consultant, a
feed mill operator, a premix manufacturer, etc. The basic

module remains the same, but the added features differ
based on needs, and cost can increase dramatically.
There are two other aspects in selecting the right
software apart from being suitable to your needs. First,
it should not be a simple conversion from MS-DOS, but
a genuine rewrite of the code for the operating system
you use. Second, there must be a demo so you can learn
whether the user interface is friendly toward you. Some
require special treatment as they can be quite demanding.

Free software
These are useful for learning feed formulation, and a
quick search on the internet will reveal many. Some come
with a purchasing option or remain limited. Their main
problem is that they lack support and contain too many
bugs from incomplete development. Thus, they are prone
to frequent crashes that may lead to data loss, something
that cannot be bought back with money. So, use them at
your own peril and make sure you save your work often.

Cloud software
A final word is required for this relatively recent development. It involves accessing your data (formulas) from the
internet either from your own server or a dedicated host
server. It might also involve formulating using internetbased software or that which is installed in your computer.
The main advantage remains the ability to share a
common database among different employees of the same
organization. Coordination of the database, then, becomes
the responsibility of a central person - something that
requires an extra qualified employee - so there is more
than meets the eye in cloud services, especially when the
size of services increases.

Parting words
It is always advisable to consult with an experienced person before committing to buying
any software, and to retain the right to test it
before committing to buy it. This is especially true when cost starts to climb. ■

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., is an animal nutrition industry consultant. To contact, Mavromichalis,
email imavromichalis@icloud.com.
January 2020 ❙ www.FeedStrategy.com


http://www.FeedStrategy.com

Feed Strategy - January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Feed Strategy - January 2020

Feed Strategy - January 2020
Contents
In the Mix
Industry Happenings
6 issues set to shape 2020 poultry feed production Trade shifts, an ASF-driven protein gap and high consumer demand point to stable growth for the global poultry sector in the year ahead
5 broiler early nutrition research highlights
Smaller feed companies struggle to comply with FMSA
The right software for the right formulation job
Halal animal feed production enters new markets
Formulation secrets revealed for modern piglet feeds
Phytogenics: combinations and synergies in poultry feed
Products
Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - CT1
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - CT2
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Feed Strategy - January 2020
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Cover2
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - CT3
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - CT4
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Contents
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - In the Mix
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 3
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Industry Happenings
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 5
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 6 issues set to shape 2020 poultry feed production Trade shifts, an ASF-driven protein gap and high consumer demand point to stable growth for the global poultry sector in the year ahead
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 7
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 8
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 9
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 10
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 11
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 5 broiler early nutrition research highlights
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 13
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 14
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 15
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Smaller feed companies struggle to comply with FMSA
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 17
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 18
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 19
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 20
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 21
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 22
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 23
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - The right software for the right formulation job
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 25
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Halal animal feed production enters new markets
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 27
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 28
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 29
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 30
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 31
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Formulation secrets revealed for modern piglet feeds
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 33
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 34
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 35
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 36
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 37
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Phytogenics: combinations and synergies in poultry feed
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 39
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 40
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 41
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - 42
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Products
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Cover3
Feed Strategy - January 2020 - Cover4
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