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.