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Frequently Asked Questions

Using Rumen8

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 to the diet before Rumen8 will start to calculate its performance. This is equivalent to about 75% of maintenance metabolisable energy for your chosen cow.


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 several Universities in Australia. Just contact Richard at 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 role and country, some idea of who is using Rumen8. This helps us apply for further funding to improve Rumen8 (and justify previous funding).

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 3 years, so it is very occasional).

I use a desktop and laptop, do I need a registration for both machines?
No, the registration is for you, 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/organisation (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.

Downloading and Installing Rumen8

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 is 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. If you still can't download the installer contact Richard Morris and he can send you another link that often works.

I tried to run the installer and Windows SmartScreen popped up a message telling me it has protected my PC, what is going on?
This is Microsoft's clumsy attempt to protect you from malicious software. If you click on the 'More info' text below the message it shows you the reason is the software publisher (Richard Morris) is unknown to Microsoft but you can now run the installer anyway.

I've just installed an upgrade and now Rumen8 will not start. What do I do?
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
The AppData folder is hidden so you will have to make it visible in the View menu of Explorer. Just delete the folder Western_Dairy_Inc and Rumen8 should start normally.

I have turned on the optimiser in the preferences but it doesn't work, help?
Setting up Rumen8 to talk to Microsoft Excel and use its optimiser 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 in the section below, we use Excel so we can give Rumen8 away for free.

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 still have a few options including Bootcamp, virtual machines and WINE. Look on the Mac page of the website for details.

Can I get a version of Rumen8 for my phone?
We are considering porting a simplified version Rumen8 to iOS or Android. It depends on how popular it would be and if we can attract funding.

About Rumen8

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.

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 used in Australia so Rumen8 reflects this. 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.

Why is Rumen8 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. Ownership has since been transferred to Dairy Australia and Western Dairy and these organisations have provided significant funding to improve Rumen8 further, which has come from Australia dairy farmer levies and taxes. Rumen8 is part of several Dairy Australia programmes improving nutritional knowledge on Australian farms and from that business profitability. It is more likely to be adopted if provided free of charge.

What language is Rumen8 written in?
Rumen8 was originally written in Visual Basic 6. It happened to be the language we could get for free from a colleague who had two licenses (they cost hundreds of dollars back then). Rumen8 was one of those unofficial projects that was done in 'spare' time and in the evening so didn't have any funding. In 2004 it was ported to Visual Basic .Net and is currently developed in the 2017 version of the software.

Rumen8 is based on a Feeding Standard from the 1990's. Why haven't you updated it?
Rumen8 uses the British feed standard 'AFRC (1993) Energy and Protein Requirements of Ruminants' for energy and protein requirements. It was used by the developers for many years on the Research farm they worked on and predicted performance well for the pasture-based diets common in Australia. Equations to predict ME haven't changed much in the last twenty years so Rumen8 still performs well. Protein requirements however have been revised upwards and this is why Rumen8 applies a 25% increase to the MP demand in the preferences by default. As future feeding standards are released they will be evaluated and incorporated into Rumen8 if needed.

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 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.

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