How does Feedsoft® work?
Feedsoft® provides a way of entering and managing the ingredients which are available for inclusion in the formulas. Available feed ingredients are listed along with their unit price. Optional ingredient properties such as the ingredient types, alternate code names, and applicable species may also be entered.
Each feed ingredient available for inclusion in your formulas should have corresponding nutrient composition data. The nutrient values are preferably derived from chemical analysis of representative samples of the ingredient. When the nutrient composition is not available, tables of feed composition using average or typical values are used.
Specifications are set for each formula to be solved by Feedsoft® software. Formula specifications generally define the nutrient levels desired in the formula and the ingredient inclusion levels. Either a lower limit and/or an upper limit for each nutrient and ingredient are set.
Once all the above necessary information is provided, Feedsoft® will produce formulas that meet the desired specifications at the lowest possible cost. A requirement for proper formulation, however, is that the formula result must be feasible both from a mathematical and a nutritional standpoint. If infeasible results are obtained the ingredient and nutritional composition should be carefully scrutinized to make sure the solution is nutritionally acceptable for the target species. One of the most important uses of least-cost feed formulation is in choosing among the available ingredients to be used, based on their nutritional composition and cost. Many times one ingredient can be substituted by another with similar nutritional value. Feedsoft® helps the user to achieve the highest profit margin when market conditions favor the use of one ingredient over the other. A number of tools are useful in the analysis of formulation results:
Marginal Price Changes
For those ingredients that were not included in the formula solution, Feedsoft® indicates how much the cost of these ingredients will have to fall before they can be included in the formula. This cost change is called the marginal price change of the ingredient.
Shadow price of an ingredient is calculated by subtracting the marginal cost change from the current ingredient cost. This amount represents the cost of the ingredient at which the ingredient can be included in the formula. Ingredients that are included in the formula results have a shadow price of zero. Similarly, the change in formula cost with a change in a nutrient constraint is called the shadow price of the nutrient. The shadow price of a nutrient is zero if the level of nutrient use is not equal to the constraint level.
The ability to specify that several nutrients must exist in the resulting formula in relation to one another is called Nutrient Factoring. Feedsoft® provides this capability which allows setting a ratio between two nutrients, for example calcium and phosphorus. The ability to specify nutrients in proportion to one another is another application of this function. For example, the user can specify that amino acids be proportional to the total amount of protein in the formula.