Rumen8

Easy Beef and Dairy Cattle Diets

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • I think I found a bug, can I report it?
    Yes, we appreciate reports about bugs in Rumen8 so we can fix them and make Rumen8 better. So we can find the problem please send us the information below via the Contact page of the website.

    1. The version of Microsoft Windows on your computer. For example, Window 10 64bit.
    2. What you were doing when the problem occurred. For example, editing the NDF% of a feed in the feed editor.
    3. Please describe what happened.
    4. Can you get Rumen8 to do it consistently? In other words, is it a one off or is it reproducible?
    5. What country do you have set in the Rumen8 preferences? Sometimes bugs can be location specific.

    We may get back to you and ask you to email us your library files. This allows us to set up a test computer exactly how you have your Rumen8 set up which is often very helpful tracking down bugs.

    Finally, thank you for taking the time to report issues to us.
  • I have added an ingredient to the diet, why have none of the diet indicators become active?
    You must provide a minimum amount of feed in the diet before Rumen8 will start to calculate its performance. This is equivalent to about 75% of maintenance metabolisable energy for your chosen cow.
  • How can I change the location of my Rumen8 folder?
    When you installed Rumen8 you had to choose where to keep the user files and the default location was in your Documents folder. If you would like to change this go into the Rumen8 Preferences and on the General tab there is a 'Change home' button. When you click this and confirm you want to change the location of the home folder Rumen8 will ask you again where you would like your home folder to be located when it next starts. Note the new home folder will contain the default feed library, preferences and milk prices files. If you wish to keep your existing library files copy them across from the old ~\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries\ folder to the new location overwriting the defaults.
  • How do I return to the default feed library, preferences, optimiser or milk prices file that came with Rumen8?
    The user specific copies of these files live in the ~\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries\ folder by default. If you wish to revert any of these files to the copy that came with Rumen8 just exit Rumen8, delete the appropriate file (or move it elsewhere) and restart Rumen8. Rumen8 will notice the file is missing and offer to replace it.

    The library files are called FeedLibrary.db3, Preferences.db3 and MilkPrices.db3 for Rumen8 version 3. For Rumen8 version 4 and later they are called FeedLibrary4.db3, Preferences4.db3 and Prices4.db3.
  • Is there a way to create diets for two herds at once?
    Yes, as you can run multiple instances of Rumen8 at the same time but you must be careful not to change things like milk prices in one instance as they will not be available in the second instance until it is restarted. Start Rumen8 normally and enter the values for the first herd and their diet. Now start a second instance of Rumen8 by double-clicking on it's icon while holding down the shift key on the keyboard. A second Rumen8 window will open and you can enter the details for the second herd here. Not that both instances of Rumen8 are using the same feed library, milk prices and preferences files. If you change a value for a feed in the feed editor in one Rumen8 instance the change will not be used in the second instance until you restart it or reload the feed library by using the File menu option. If you attempt to open the feed library while it is being edited in the other Rumen8 you will get an error. Also note milk price and preference changes will require restarting the second instance of Rumen8 to change in it.
  • How do I upgrade from version 2 to 3?
    You can install Rumen8 3 alongside Rumen8 2 and they won’t interfere with each other as version 3 uses a completely updated file format for the feed library etc.

    You can import your feeds from a version 2 feed.csv library in the Feed Editor with the Import button down the bottom of the window. It will step through each feed and you can skip it or provide the extra information Rumen8 3 needs about management category and particle size. All the feed definitions have been completely updated and expanded so even if they have the same name the version 3 feed definitions will be from much more recent information.

    Version 2 diets can be opened from the File menu and then saved out in the new .rm8 format when you have finished.
  • What do I do when I get the error message 'Unable to upgrade MilkPrices.db3'?
    To fix the problem just delete the MilkPrices.db3 file from within your Rumen8\Libraries folder and when Rumen8 starts you will get a new MilkPrices.db3 file in the new format. If you do this you will lose your previously entered milk prices so if that is a problem contact us via the Contact page and it can be fixed and sent back to you.
    If you installed Rumen8 to the default location the full path will be
    C:\Users\(your_name)\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries\MilkPrices.db3

    Note, this is a different location to C:\Program Files (x86)\Rumen8 folder, you should not touch any of the files stored there!
  • How do I upgrade from version 3 to 4?
    Rumen8 version 4 can be installed alongside an existing copy of Rumen8 version 3. Both versions can then be used and retain their individual feed libraries, preference settings and prices. Version 3 diets can be opened from the File menu and then saved out in the new format when you have finished them.
    When starting Rumen8 4 for the first time it is recommended you choose the same location for the Rumen8 folder as used by Rumen8 3. This is usually the users Documents folder. Then Rumen8 4 will see the existing Rumen8 3 library files and offer to import them for use in Rumen8 4. This will allow the use of the existing feeds, preferences and prices in Rumen8 4. If you do not import your Rumen8 3 libraries when starting Rumen8 4 for the first time, it can be done manually by going to the Feed Editor, Advanced Preferences and Prices tab and using the 'Import' button to import the Rumen8 3 library as a new Rumen8 4 library. The Rumen8 3 library files are usually located in the C:\Users\\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries\ folder and are called FeedLibrary.db3, Preferences.db3 and MilkPrices.db3.
    If you import some or all three of the Rumen8 3 libraries they will become the currently selected library and called 'Rumen8 3'. For example, if on first start-up of Rumen8 4 you decided to import the Feed Library used by Rumen8 3 go into the Feed Editor and you will see the current library is called Rumen8 3 in the drop-down list called 'Feed library in use'.
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    If you click on the drop-down menu, you will see there is another feed library available called 'Default'. This is the feed library supplied with Rumen8 4. It is the same as the feed library supplied with Rumen8 3 except it has had links to the Feedipedia website added for many of the feeds.
    You may wish to rename the feed libraries if you want to continue using your imported Rumen8 3 library as the usual feed library. For example, select the Default library in the drop-down list and then use the 'Rename' button to rename it to something like 'Default Rumen8 4 library'. Then you can select the Rumen8 3 library and rename it to 'Default'. When you use a library not called default a reminder 'FL' flag appears at the bottom of the tab section of Rumen8's main window and mousing over it will reveal a tool tip window that shows you the name of the current library.
    The Preferences and Prices libraries work in a similar way, so if you decided to import those when starting Rumen8 4 for the first time you will also have a 'Rumen8 3' library selected in the drop-down list in the Advanced Preferences and on the Prices tab. They can be renamed in the same way if you want the Rumen8 3 settings and prices to be your defaults.
    If you have multiple sets of libraries, you can import them all and then rename them so they have meaningful names in the library selection drop-down lists.
  • I've just updated and Rumen8 is back in trial mode, what do I do now?
    This can happen with some large upgrades, just re-enter your name and registration key under the Help menu. In some cases you may also revert to Compact mode, so go the File menu to switch back to Standard mode if you wish.

    Rumen8 version 4: You may also revert to the default feed library if you were using another one, so go into the Feed Editor (Edit menu or Control-F keys) and select your previous library.


    Rumen version 3: You may also revert to the default feed library if you were using a User feed library, so go into the Feed Editor (Edit menu or Control-F keys) and click on the Open button under User feed library to change back to it.
  • The text in the Rumen8 window is jumbled with some things in the wrong position. How do I fix it?
    Windows 10 and later
    This can be caused by Windows scaling the Rumen8 window incorrectly. Go into the Settings of the computer by clicking on the Windows button at the bottom left of the screen, then the Settings cog icon when the start menu appears. Choose the System group in Settings and then Display down the left side of the window. There is a section called 'Scale and layout' which changes the size of text and applications. Just below the percentage is the text ‘Advanced scaling settings’ highlighted by the red arrow in the image below. Click on that to go into the advanced settings. Turn on the toggle for the ‘Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry’, as shown in the image below. You may need to exit Rumen8 and start it again to see any change.
    If that doesn’t solve the issue try different scaling percentages in the Scale and layout section. Round numbers often work best, for example 125% or 150%.
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    Windows 7
    This is caused by scaling the Windows 7 display to make fonts and other screen items larger, usually by 125%. Go to "Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display" and click on the "Set custom text size (DPI)” option on the left. Make sure that the "Use Windows XP style DPI scaling" checkbox is NOT checked. Log off to apply changes if necessary.
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    When Rumen8 starts it gives an error message about an invalid value from the Preferences and exitsTo fix the problem just delete the Preferences.db3 file from within your Rumen8\Libraries folder and when Rumen8 starts you will get a new Preferences.db3 file. If you do this you will lose your previously changed preferences settings so go into Preferences via the File menu and set them back to how you prefer.
    If you installed Rumen8 to the default location the full path will be
    C:\Users\(your_name)\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries\Preferences.db3
    Note, this is a different location to C:\Program Files (x86)\Rumen8 folder and you should not touch any of the files stored there!
  • The Rumen8 window is very small, can I make it larger?
    On a high resolution screen the Rumen8 window may appear too small to comfortably read. This is often the case on laptops with high DPI 4K (3840x2160 pixels) screens. To increase the relative size of everything on the screen you can adjust the Scaling percentage in the Windows Settings.

    1. Quit from Rumen8.
    2. Open the Windows Settings via the Start button in Windows 10 task bar at the bottom of the screen. Click on the Start button and when the Start menu appears click on the cog icon to open the Settings window.
    3. Click on the System group of settings.
    4. Click on the Display sub heading in the menu to the left of the window.
    5. Scroll down through the settings until you see the 'Scale and layout' setting.
    6. Adjust the Scaling factor up until the Rumen8 window is a suitable size, typically to 125% or 150%. This will also increase the size of text and icons every where else within Windows.
    7. Start Rumen8 to see if it is now large enough to use comfortably. If not, increase the scaling factor.
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  • I’m giving a presentation on using Rumen8 and the windows is too small when projected on the screen. How do I make it larger?
    The Rumen8 window is a fixed size. This is a consequence of Rumen8 being 20 years old as newer methods of designing windows allow everything to get larger when the window resizes. The way round this is to go into the Settings of the computer connected to the projector , choose the System group and then Display down the left side of the window. There is a setting called 'Scale and layout' which changes the size of text and applications. Increase the percentage and everything will appear larger. This scaling isn't perfect so some percentage settings may cause the Rumen8 window to be jumbled up. If that is the case try a different percentage setting. What setting works for you depends on the resolution of the screen in the laptop and the resolution of the projector, so it is trial and error until you find what works. Rumen8 must be closed when you change the scaling.
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  • When Rumen8 starts it gives an error message about an invalid value from the Preferences and exits. How do I start Rumen8?
    To fix the problem just delete the Preferences.db3 or Preferences4.db3 file from within your Rumen8\Libraries folder and when Rumen8 starts you will get a new preferences file. If you do this you will lose your preferences settings and revert to the preferences supplied with Rumen8, so go into Preferences via the File menu and set them back to how you prefer.
    If you installed Rumen8 to the default location the full path of the folder containing the preferences library file will be
    C:\Users\(your_name)\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries\

    Note, this is a different location to C:\Program Files (x86)\Rumen8 folder and you should not touch any of the files stored there!
  • Rumen8 will not start and it says I need the .NET Framework, how do I fix this?
    To run Rumen8 Microsoft Windows must have the .NET Framework installed. This is usually done by default when installing Windows but occasionally something goes wrong.
    Rumen8 version 4 and above requires version 4.8 of the .NET Framework. This can be installed on Windows 7 and higher.
    Rumen8 version 3 requires version 4.0 of the .NET Framework. This can be installed on Windows XP and higher.

    To install the .NET Framework go to this Microsoft download page, select the version of Windows you have on your computer and then the version of .NET Framework you need as shown above. Download and install the Runtime version, NOT the Developer version.

    Once installed Rumen8 should start normally.
  • I teach in a University/College/School and would like to use Rumen8 in my class, is this possible?
    Yes, Rumen8 is already used in universities all over the world. Just contact us via the Contact page to decide on the best way to register the software on the computers owned by your institution.
  • Rumen8 is free, why do I have to register?
    Registration gives us some idea of how many users we have, and for those of you who also tell use your industry role and country, who is using Rumen8. This helps us prioritise new features and apply for further funding to improve Rumen8 in the future.
  • If I give you my email and details, will you give it to anyone else?
    No, your details will not be given to anyone else. Your name and email are only kept so we can supply you with your registration information if you lose it and occasionally send you an email about Rumen8 (we have done this once in the last 6 years, so it is very occasional). The Rumen8 application and website do not contain any tracking. You can read our privacy policy on the Rumen8 website here.
  • I use a desktop and laptop, do I need a registration for both machines?
    No, the registration is for you the user, not the particular computer you happen to be using. You may register Rumen8 on both computers in your name. If you have multiple users in an organisation and they have their own computers, we would prefer if they had their own registrations so we know there is more than one user at that institution (see the question about why we ask you to register). 
  • I had registered Rumen8 but now it has gone back into trial mode. What do I do?
    Occasionally an update means Rumen8 will revert to trial mode. Just put your registration details in again and you will have access to the full program. If you no longer have your registration details contact us via the Register page and we will send them to you.
  • I have a new computer, how do I remove my registration details from Rumen8 on the old one?
    If you plan to give your computer to someone else, before uninstalling Rumen8 go to the Registration option under the Help menu and click the ‘Deregister’ button. Your name and registration code will be removed from the computer and Rumen8 will revert to trial mode.
  • I have a new computer, how do I copy my Rumen8 settings from my old one?
    First install Rumen8 on your new computer and then start it for the first time and enter your registration details. Now exit from Rumen8.
    Rumen8 keeps all the settings for a user in its library files. If you installed Rumen8 in the default location the library files will be located in the folder
    C:\Users\\Documents\Rumen8\Libraries
    Go to the Libraries folder on the old computer and copy all the files in it to the Libraries folder on the new computer, overwriting the existing files. Now when you start Rumen8 on the new machine it will have the same settings as the old one.
    Don’t forget to copy over any saved diet files (.rm8) from the old to the new machine. They can be located anywhere, but are usually kept in the ~\Documents\Rumen8\ folder.
  • I have downloaded the Rumen8 installer from the website but it isn't in my download folder, what happened?
    Some anti-virus software mistakenly thinks the installer contains a virus and deletes it as soon as the download is finished without telling you. The only way around this is to temporarily disable your anti-virus software, download and install Rumen8, and then turn it back on again. Packages like Nortons also have an option to tell them the Rumen8 website is safe and can be trusted. Alternately, download the installer in a zip archive from the download page and run it from there. It will ask for a password which is 'password'. If you still can't install Rumen8 contact us and we will send you another link that usually works.
  • I tried to run the installer and a security warning appears telling me Rumen8 has an unknown publisher. What is happening?
    This can happen on Windows XP and Vista computers and it is telling you Windows cannot confirm the software publisher on the installer. It occurs because these operating systems are too old to read the certificate in the installer confirming it is published by us. Just press the run button and Rumen8 will install normally. Please note Rumen8 is no longer tested on these operating systems as they are not supported by Microsoft and do not receive security updates.
  • I tried to install the SAP Crystal Reports runtime and I get an error 1904, the dll failed to register. What can I do?
    This error message means you are missing one of the Windows software packages the runtime depends on. It is usually the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable. Download it from Microsoft here and install it and then the SAP software should install correctly.
  • I tried to run the installer and a Windows SmartScreen warning appears telling me Rumen8 is an unrecognised app and running it might put my PC at risk. What is happening?
    This can happen on Windows 10 computers and it is telling you Windows doesn't recognise the Rumen8 installer. Eventually it will stop happening when enough people install Rumen8 so Microsoft 'recognises’ it but until then just click on the More Info link and then the Run Anyway button.
  • I've just installed an update and now Rumen8 will not start. What do I do?
    Very occasionally the settings folder may have been corrupted during the upgrade. You can delete it and Rumen8 should start normally but some of your settings will revert to the defaults. The settings are in the folder
    C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Rumen8_Nutrition_Pty_Ltd\
    The AppData folder is hidden so you will have to make it visible in the View menu of the File Explorer. Just delete the folder Rumen8_Nutrition_Pty_Ltd and Rumen8 should start normally.
  • I use an Apple Mac computer, is there a version of Rumen8 for me?
    Rumen8 only runs on computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. However, if you prefer a Mac you may still have a few options. Look on the Mac page of the website for details.
  • I'm still using Windows XP or Vista, can I use Rumen8?
    We only test the latest version of Rumen8 on supported versions of Microsoft Windows which currently means Windows 8.1 and later. However, version 3 of Rumen8 is still available from the Download page so try it and it will probably work on these older machines. It definitely isn't supported or recommended, especially if your machine is connected to the internet and not getting security patches from Microsoft. Version 4 and later will not run on any computer with Windows XP or Vista.
  • Can I get a version of Rumen8 for my smart phone?
    We are considering porting a simplified version of Rumen8 to iOS or Android. It depends on how popular it would be and if we can attract funding. However, there are no plans to do this yet.
  • Is Rumen8 available in languages other than English?
    Unfortunately Rumen8 is only available in English at this time. We hope to add translations in the future if we can get funding to do so.
  • Can Rumen8 be used to create diets for other ruminants such as sheep and goats?
    No, the animal models used by Rumen8 are specific to dairy and beef cattle. We may add other ruminants such as sheep and goats in the future if we can source funding.
  • Can I change the units to mega calories and pounds?
    No, Rumen8 only uses metric units.
  • I'm used to net energy demand, can I change metabolisable energy to net energy?
    No, ME is the standard in Australia where Rumen8 was developed, and is used in most of the other 55 Commonwealth countries. However, if you open the ME detail window, either through the View menu or by clicking on the 'Metabolisable Energy' heading on the Diet detail tab, the net energy requirements are listed before they are converted to ME.
  • How can you give Rumen8 away for free?
    Rumen8 was originally developed by Martin Staines and Richard Morris when they worked for the Department of Agriculture in Western Australia so was paid for by Australian taxpayers. Since then a number of organisations have provided significant funding to improve Rumen8 further as part of programmes improving nutritional knowledge on dairy and beef farms and from that business profitability. It is more likely to be adopted if provided free of charge. So far the business model of attracting funds from industry bodies and making Rumen8 free has worked well so we have no plans to change it.
  • I have turned on the optimiser in the preferences but it doesn't work. Do I need to do anything else?
    Setting up Rumen8 to talk to Microsoft Excel and use its Solver add-on is not easy and sometimes just doesn't work on some machines. There are step-by-step instructions given in the User Guide as it takes more than just turning it on in the Rumen8 preferences. Work your way through the instructions in the User Guide carefully and with luck it will work for you. We are sorry this is difficult to set up but as explained in the optimiser question below, we use Excel so we can give Rumen8 away for free.
  • Rumen8 stops responding when running the optimiser, how do I stop this?
    It can take a long time to optimise some diets, but if a 3 minute time limit is exceeded the optimiser may be asking you whether it should stop or continue. This dialog box may be hidden behind another window on your desktop. If you cannot see it you may need to turn on the option in the Rumen8 Preferences to make Excel visible when optimising and then try again.
  • Why does the optimiser use Excel instead of just optimising the diet within Rumen8?
    Unfortunately the rumen outflow equations used by Rumen8 are non-linear so the many low cost linear optimisers available cannot be used. Non-linear optimisers are more expensive and usually require a license fee for every copy of Rumen8 which would mean we could not provide it free of charge. Fortunately, the Solver add-on in Excel can handle simple non-linear optimisation so Rumen8 copies the diet and cow into Excel, optimises it and then brings the solution back into Rumen8. It is a clumsy workaround but enables us to keep Rumen8 free for users.
  • I want to capture the Rumen8 window with a tool tip open, how do I do this?
    You can use a screen capture tool, such as the Snipping Tool that is included with Windows 10. If you set the area to be captured (Mode) to the entire screen and the delay to 5 seconds you have time to move to the Rumen8 window and make the tool tip window appear before the screen is grabbed. Once you have the image of the entire screen you can use Paint 3D (supplied as part of Windows) to crop down to the size you want.
    If you are capturing screens to be part of a presentation and the Rumen8 window would be more readable if it was larger, just go into the Windows Settings, then System, Display and adjust the Scale and layout percentage. You can put it back to your preferred size after capturing the screens you need. You must change the scale and layout percentage without Rumen8 running. Some display percentages don't work very well and Rumen8 may appear garbled.