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Opti-kuckeliku, optimal feed formulation for poultry

Your borowser does not support Java 1.4, you can not use the program. See instructions for download below
Please mail me for help!

You need Java 1.4 to run the program!

Note to swedish users:
Det finns en svensk översättning av den här instruktionboken i PDF-format.

Users guide

For the impatient:

  • Start the program by clicking the button "Start the program" (if that button is not visible, download java 1.4, see below!).
  • Choose type of animal in the limits window.
  • Click "Optimize" in the menu.

Contents

The animal and its feeds

An animal demands to have all its requirements of nutrients and other aspects of a ration satisfied.

Different feedstuffs contain different amounts of different nutrients, and have different properties. Also, all feedstuffs have a price.

The cheapest and best mix

The goal of optimizing a ration is to find the mix of feeds that both is the cheapest and at the same time satisfies all the animal's requirements of nutrients and other aspects of the ration.

The so called Simplex-algoritm is a mathematical method that can find the optimal ration. The Simplex-algoritm is a fairly complex method discovered in the 1940:th. However, user-friendly programs make feed optimization easy!

Opti-kuckeliku, how to use it

First of all, Opti-kuckeliku uses the metric system!

Top most on this page, there is a button that looks like this:

screen-dump from the program

Click that button and the programs starts (that is, not the picture of the button just next to this text, but the real button on the top of this page. If that button on the top of the page is not visible, you need to download the Java 1.4 plug-in first, se instructions below).

Wait until the program has started and all the three windows are showing. Specially on older computers, this might take a minute or so. Three windows are showing. You can change between them, close them, open them up again, just the way you like.

Top most of all the three windows is the menu window, it looks like this:

screen-dump from the program

By clicking the button "Compositions matrix" the window with the composition matrix shows. By clicking “Limits" the window that holds information about the animaland its limits of nutrient requirement shows. The button "Optimize" starts a new optimization based on the feeds and settings of limits that has been done in the composition matrix and limits windows.

As of 2004-11-16 there is some new fancy short keys to use:

  • F8 = Optimize
  • F4 = Show menu
  • F5 = Show composition matrix and limits windows.
  • F6 = Show nutrient limits window
  • In nutrient limits window, Ctrl E clears all limits
  • In results window, Ctrl L moves the results to minimum limits

Composistion matirx and min/max-rations window

screen-dump from the program

In this window all the values of all parameters for all feedstuffs are shown. You can change prices and all the other parameters for all the feedstuffs in the table (matrix). However, it is not a good idea to change their names since the program then will be unable to automatically set the min/max levels of these feeds.

In the first three columns there is a possibility to set limits on rations of individual feeds. Min stands for minimal, or lower limit. Max stands for maximal or upper limit. Fix means that there must be exactly that amount of the feed in the mix. If you want to exclude a feed, set the max-limit to 0 or use the button remove feeds from the menu-window.

All values are per kg ingrediet or per kg feed.

Limits window

screen-dump from the program

In the limits window the type of animal is set. The program then automatically calculates the limits of different parameters and displays them in the limits window, and in addition to that upper limits of contents of some feedstuffs are set in the matrix window. These limits are set based on international recommendations, but you are free to check them and alter them as you like.

If a fix limit is set the min/max limits of that parameter is not considered by the program. The program does not understand negative values as a limit. If a negative value is set the program will respond with an error message.

You can by clicking the checkboxes control if the program should set the limits automatically or not, and if the program should use limits on total or available amino acids or both.

Optimize

When you are finished with the composition matrix and the limits, press the button Optimize in the menu!

screen-dump from the program

The computer will need a short time to do the calculations and then displays the result window:

screen-dump from the program

The result window shows the result of the optimazation.

There is a column that is called Margin. The figures there tell how much cheaper an ingredient must be to be part of the mix. Lower and upper price limits tells how much the price can change without a change of the amount of that ingredient in the optimal mix.

If you are setting up to hard restrictions (limits) or if the quality of the feeds in the compositions matrix is to bad, there might not be an optimal solution. In that case the program tells you so. You would then have to change your limits or try using other ingredients.

It is of great importance that the limits and values of feeds are properly set. Commercial feeds often have the nutrient contents listed with different units than the program. Make sure you are converting figures the right way if you are using feeds of your own.

If a feedstuff do not contain a figure for a parameter used by the program the feed can not be used. All nutrient parameters used by the program must be entered for every feed in the composition matrix.

If you by mistake happen to enter letters instead of numbers, the programs gives you a warning that you have to correct.

FAQ

What to do if the program suggests a feed that I can not use, or if the rations of a particular feed is to high or to low?

Use the compositions matrix and set min, max or fix values. If the program for example suggests FISH MEAL, and you can not use FISH MEAL, set the max value of FISH MEAL to 0.

What to do if the program does not find an optimal solution?

Check your data, perhaps you have mixed up a min and a max value? Loos up your limits on different parameters, or try to put a new feed in the composition matrix that you think would fit into the mix.

Why does not the program include all minerals, vitamins and micronutrients?

Theoretically it would be easy to extend the limits window with all imaginable nutrients.
In practise it is assumed that a small amount of a vitamin/mineral-premix will take care of those parameters not included in the program.

Can the results of an optimazation be trusted?

Yes and no! The programs calculations have been tested very carefully. The restrictions that the basic settings in the programs uses has been carefully considered before used in the program. But just because the program calculates right, it does not necessary mean that the mix will fit the animal perfectly. Many, if not most animals, have more or less higher or lower requirements compared to the feeding standards, the analyses of nutrients in feedsuffs may diverge from its true values, figures may be mistyped, you might have done a mistake when using the program, the program might suggest a combinations of ingredients that fulfil all limits the program is using, but for other reasons is unsuitable for your animal, a particular feedstuff perhaps does fit well mathematically, but should not be used for your animal for other reasons etc.

Given the shortcomings listed above, Opti-kuckeliku is - according to the judgement of Freefarm - a good and easy to use guidance towards a proper ration for the actual animal.

Technical support. What to do if the program does not work?

In order to run this program, you will need a Java 1.4 enabled browser.
A Java plug-in is available from SUN's homepage.
The download-instructions are available in many languages.


[ Mattias@freefarm.se | +46 (0)70 686 98 28 ]

Freefarm is by no way responsible for any effects feeding mixes calculated with this program might cause. The program is based on international feeding standards and the simplex method.

All programming by Mattias Malmgren at Freefarm
Copyright © 2003 Freefarm. All rights reserved.