Easy Beef and Dairy Cattle Diets

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.

How can I change the location of my Rumen8 folder?
When you installed Rumen8 you had to choose where to keep the user specific 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 to 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.

Is there as 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.

Upgrading and Updating

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 imported from the File and then Import menu on the main window 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 from version 1 to 2'?
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 send the file to Richard at the support email and it can be fixed and emailled back to you.
If you installed Rumen8 to the default location the full path will be
Note, this is a different location to C:\Program Files (x86)\Rumen8 folder and you should not touch any of the files stored there!

I've just updated and Rumen8 is back in trial mode
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. You may also revert to the default 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
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 exits
To 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
Note, this is a different location to C:\Program Files (x86)\Rumen8 folder and you should not touch any of the files stored there!


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. 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 the last 6 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. Alternately, download the installer in a zip archive from the download page and run it from there. If you still can't install Rumen8 contact Richard at the support email and he can 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. It occurs because these operating systems are too old to read the certificate in the installer confirming it is published by Richard Morris. Just press the run button and Rumen8 will install normally. Please note Rumen8 is no longer tested on these operating systems as they are no longer not supported by Microsoft and no longer 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 software packages the runtime depends on. It is usually the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable. Download it from Microsoft here and install it and the SAP software should then install correctly.

I tried to run the installer and a Windows Defender 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 'recognise' 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?
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.

I'm still using Windows XP or Vista, can I use Rumen8?
We only test Rumen8 on supported versions of Microsoft Windows which means currently Windows 8.1 and later. However, we try not to use any software that cannot run under older versions of Windows so try it and it will probably work. It definitely isn't supported or recommended, especially if your machine is connected to the internet and not getting up to date security patches from Microsoft.

Can I get a version of Rumen8 for my 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.

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. Since then a number of organisations have provided significant funding to improve Rumen8 further as part of programmes improving nutritional knowledge on dairy farms and from that business profitability. It is more likely to be adopted if provided free of charge.

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.

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