DAIRY cow diet and cost management tool Rumen8 has received a much-needed update and is free to the public following support from Western Dairy.
The computer program will make it easier to design a diet and ensure dietary needs are met and for the best price.
Developer Richard Morris spoke at the Western Dairy Spring Field Day last week and said it was great to be able to offer an improved Rumen8.
He said the program had the potential to streamline a lot of processes already in place on most farms.
"Rumen8 uses a relatively simple nutrition model," Mr Morris said.
"Many more sophisticated models of dairy cow nutrition exist but they require a higher level of user knowledge, are less readily available and take more time to use."
Rumen8 was developed Department of Agriculture and Food staff more than 10 years ago, as an in-house tool for managing the dairy herds on the Vasse research station near Busselton.
The latest version allows users to design diets from up to 10 feeds, compare feed and milk prices, calculate returns and manage milk protein by ensuring there is enough energy provided in the cow's diet.
Work will continue on adding new features over the next 12 months and updates will be automatically downloaded by those who sign up for the program online.
Mr Morris said those interested in using Rumen8 would be able to learn the basics at up-coming Western Dairy workshops.
"It's important that we give farmers the tool and teach them how to use it," he said.
"Rumen8 can be a time saver and a money saver and once you know the basics you can develop some very useful calculations."
Visit www.rumen8.com.au for more information about the program and upcoming training sessions.