Joel Vasquez - Functional Nutrition LLC - Using Formulate2 DFS
When I keep my samples up to date and farmers do what they're supposed to do DFS is very accurate at estimating the requirements for performance. On-farm milk yields are within 3.0 lbs of what DFS has predicted. Those performance predictions are coming from the Formulate2 DFS AA and MP Calculator and are based on NRC predicted MP-Met flow.That gives me confidence in my formulations and allows me to provide greater value to producers. After educating the farmer about AA balancing and shifting the focus from CP to MP and AA, when we move forward that way, DFS is the best tool I have.
Because DFS is so reliable, it's much easier to trouble shoot when there are issues. I have not doubted the DFS system even once. So, when things aren't on track, I dig into what's happening on the farm and the causes are always there. I listen to the cows - they guide my approach to diet formulation. There are many factors that make a diet successful and when those are all in line the Formulate2 DFS/NRC 2001 predictions are highly reliable
It's an essential tool because I can show people what happens when things change on the farm. I can clearly relate changes in model prediction to changes in animal performance as a result of changes in forages, or slip ups in managing feeding of the diet. I can show producers the effects of those changes using the DFS predictions because there is very good correlation between those predictions and on-farm performance. So, I'm constantly benchmarking on-farm performance against DFS predictions and that allows me to know when something on the farm has changed. DFS is a tool I use to "translate" what cows are doing to changes to the diet that happen on the farm after I do the formulation.
I can AA balance for any farm and make the cows do what I say they're going to do and that makes me a better asset to the operation. If you can sustain an AA balancing program on a farm, that farm has a much better chance at surviving a dairy market that's become very volatile. That's because to see the benefits of AA balancing on a farm, all of the management pieces of the picture have to be in place and those are critical factors required to survive and grow. When those management pieces are missing or out of place, the benefits of AA balancing will be diminished. To get full benefit from AA balanced diets requires good management. Otherwise, a significant portion of supplemented AA such as Methionine can be diverted from the mammary gland to help deal with the stresses on the cow created by poor management.
I feel DFS is the most accurate thing out there, and I think anyone who cares about farmers and cows should be using Formulate2 DFS.
Formulate2 and NRC 2001 have helped us tremendously. We're very pleased with what we've been able to accomplish for our customers. AA balancing has been a very positive factor contributing to our success and our growth, and the success of our producers. In fact, we're more excited about Formulate2/NRC 2001 and AA balancing than we were when we started five years ago.
I know with Formulate2 and NRC 2001 I'm working with reliable prediction of AA flows and that's a critical factor when it comes to targeting MP-Lys and MP-Met supplies and balancing MP-Met with MP-Lys in a proper ratio in order to actually see animal response. Without an accurate prediction of AA flows and reasonable balance of those flows, it's unlikely that we'll see the TP yields the cows are capable of producing.
So, it's very important that EAA flow prediction is as reliable as possible and field experience has taught us that Formulate2/NRC 2001 flow predictions can be relied on when formulating diets for real-world farms.
Cows can only respond to what the diet provides. If they're not responding as they should, it's because they're not getting what we think they're getting. So, reliable EAA flow prediction is absolutely critical. To successfully balance diets for AA, the proper Lys/Met ratio and supplies have to be determined by the cow. Modeling is a place to start - and the more reliably a model predicts EAA flows, the fewer complaints you hear from cows.
Plots of predicted vs. measured flows of MP-Met from the dataset used to generate the NRC 2001 EAA profile equations. The prediction error across this entire, very diverse dataet of 199 diets was only 1.3 g day. Excellent predictive reliability!