Broiler Nutrition Optimiser
Broiler nutritionists are accustomed to using least cost formulation programs to formulate feeds for their broilers, but until the advent of simulation models, such as the Broiler Growth Model produced by EFG Software, they were not able to predict the biological and economic consequences of using those feeds in commercial broiler operations. Our latest development is another huge step forward in assisting nutritionists to optimise the feeds and feeding programmes for commercial broilers.
Broiler production costs are complex and will differ for each company. Similarly, the way in which income is derived will differ, as will the profit objectives. Underlying these different bases of profit maximization is the need to predict the outcome of a given feeding programme, in terms of feed intake, weight gain and body composition. The EFG Broiler Growth Model is capable of making these predictions. The optimum feeds and feeding schedule for each operation will clearly be different, and integrators will therefore need to determine these for each operation. This is the function of the nutrition optimiser, which can be used to determine the optimum amino acid to energy ratio in each of the feeds such that the overall performance is maximised, the optimum nutrient density of each of the feeds that will maximise overall performance or profitability, and the feeding schedule that will maximise profitability for the enterprise, using the feeds described during the optimisation process. No matter what objective function is used for profit maximisation, the optimisation process offered here can accommodate this.
Many broiler producers do not have the opportunity of having feeds mixed according to their specifications, but make use of proprietary feeds. An almost infinite variety of options is open to such producers in designing their feeding schedule, which can be based on amounts fed in each period or on fixed feeding periods for each feed. The optimum feeding schedule is dependent on the composition of the feeds, their respective prices, the revenue to be derived from the sale of the broilers, and many other biological and economic considerations. The feed supplier can tailor-make a feeding schedule for each client, using the proprietary feeds available, and based on the client’s specific cost structure and marketing and profit objectives.
Poultry nutrition lecturers
It is now possible to demonstrate to nutrition students different approaches in defining the amino acid contents in feeds for broilers. The futility of using fixed amino acid ‘requirements’ under different economic and biological conditions can be contrasted with the value of using different objective functions when determining the optimum composition of feeds and the optimum feeding program. A useful exercise is to get students to attempt to find the optimum feed composition for a fixed feeding schedule, using WinFeed to formulate feeds, and the Broiler Model to predict the performance of the birds, then to use the optimiser to show how much easier it is to perform this exercise for any objective function. It is also useful to get students to explain why the optimum feed composition changes for each objective function.