Diet Formulation Systems LLC

Innovation and Integration

Formulate2 DFS / Formulate2 Core Components

One-step AA Optimization - 100% NRC 2001 compliance

What Formulate2 Users Are Saying ...

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.

Franck Gaudin - Big Gain, Inc - Using FRB and the Formulate2 Core Components

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.

Morgan Allen - Big Gain, Inc - Using FRB and the Formulate2 Core Components

Transitioning to Formulate2/NRC 2001: When we first started to use the program, I couldn't believe how easy it was to pick up. It made a lot of sense and it worked on the farm. When we changed from CNCPS to Formulate2/NRC 2001, I felt the diets were more correct - and the cows told us that too.

The first step for us was getting MP-Met in line because just about every diet we had was so far off, and there was no good way for us to know that in the previous model we used. (CNCPS) So, after changing models we focused on how and why the NRC 2001 model related so well to milk and components to get a good understanding of how to use the Formulate2 toolset.

Predictions of milk and TP: I find the predictions from Formulate2 and NRC2001 are supper accurate.

When we first started, we put a lot of our existing rations into the system just to evaluate them and get an estimate on production and we'd see well no wonder we're getting 70.0 lbs of milk - that's exactly what this predicts even though in CNCPS it's showing the diet would support 80.0 some pounds of milk, but we never got there.

We had a herd that was just stuck at 65 lbs of milk and nothing we did could move them. And, when we moved to Formulate2/NRC 2001 it was like a light switch that just turned on the milk. Before Formulate2, the cows were at 65 lbs of actual milk (73 lbs of ECM). And, when we evaluated their CNCPS diet in Formulate2/NRC 2001 we were like well, no wonder. Then we just made some really small corrections - basically MP and MP-Met and those cows, just crept right up. And, by the end of the first year on the program they were at 86 - 88 lbs of ECM. (75 lbs of actual milk, 4.4% butterfat and 3.5% TP)

In the diets we first transitioned to this model the Lys/Met ratios were like 3.6:1 to 3.7:1 in NRC but like 3:1 or below in CNCPS. In NRC they were all just terrible but not in CNCPS and we didn't know that until we switched to Formulate2/NRC 2001.

So, the predictions from Formulate2/NRC 2001 are pretty eye-opening!

The Formulate2 AA and MP Calculator: One of the most important things we've been able to do is work much more precisely with MP, MP-Lys and MP-Met than we could with CNCPS. Before we changed models, we just felt we were spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere. And, not getting the service to our customers that they needed.

When we changed to Formulate2/NRC 2001 it was a huge step forward.

When you're first setting up a herd, using the Calculator is great because, I can see where the herd is on MP-Lys and MP-Met supplies as well as Lys/Met ratios. We've seen some very positive results working MP-Lysine and MP-Met, and Lys/Met ratios.

Most of the herds when we first started we didn't do anything with Lysine just corrected the Lys/Met ratio by increasing MP-Met. And, all of the herds benefitted from that correction, not just lower producing ones.

It gave us more understanding of nutrition, because it's all there to see. As a nutritionist, you learn more when you can see what's going on and how closely the Formulate2 AA Calculator predictions are to on-farm milk and components. So, you have more control over what's happening and you're able to fix things in the diet that don't perform as they should and you're not sure what's happening.

It's definitely been a very good tool for us.

Formulate2 Diet Cost Optimization: I pretty much always use the Formulate2 optimizer probably 99% of the time. I find it's very easy to use. So, I use the optimizer a lot to play with nutrient and ingredient constraints and watch the effect it has on diet cost.

It's easy to do and very fast - just a few seconds to a solution. So I can run a lot of scenarios very quickly to find the best cost/performance option for the producer.

If you'd like to see your herd reach its full potential - like these herds - please contact me - I'd love to help.

Paul McCormick - Big Gain, Inc - Using FRB and the Formulate2 Core Components

What I've found is that the protein evaluations and predictions from Formulate2/NRC 2001 have been really accurate as far as milk protein yield and milk production are concerned. And, that's been very useful. And I do like the ability to quickly optimize diet cost - very useful. It's really simple to use, very fast, and very effective because what you get on paper correlates really well what cows do on the farm.

In college I was trained on CNCPS. But the transition to Formulate2 was really simple and once you know the system, it's really easy to use. And, from talking with other people using CNCPS it seems there are a lot of things going on in the background with CNCPS and that's why those diets sometimes get off course.

As far as optimizing diet cost is concerned, I can optimize to reduce diet cost and/or improve nutrient supplies provided to the cows. It's very fast - just a few seconds - and very easy to use.

And, it's always surprising to see the solution the optimizer comes up with - it's pretty easy to shave 10 to 15 cents hd/day just by just revising nutrient or ingredient constraints just a little and rerunning the diet. And, because it's so simple and fast, I can look at multiples scenarios in less than a minute.


Chuck Miller - Big Gain, Inc - Using FRB and the Formulate2 Core Components

Most of our diets are one group TMRs. And, I find that when starting with a new customer I can set up the current diet in Formulate2 and see exactly where the Lysine and Methionine status is and the predicted yield values on the protein side will be right in line with the AA predicted by the program and what I see on farm.

I explain to people that the model we work with is based on actual measured EAA flows rather than theoretically predicted flows and that's why it's so accurate and reliable to the point where we can almost predict you're milk and TP yields and we know how to drive those yields.

When we work with well managed herds, so that everything else is in line, AA balancing works well. The first thing we do is work with dry cows and close ups to eliminate transition issues so that cows are fully able to respond to AA balanced diets.

When we work with herds we enter the current fat and protein into the model and we know where the current milk tank average is. So, we have a good picture of how cows are responding to the current diet.

I think the most important thing about the Formulate2 AA and MP Calculator is its accuracy because when we have those opportunities to drive components, we're able to do that because the model does a nice job of predicting what's going to happen. I believe if we were using another model that's not making predictions from measured EAA flows - we'd struggle with that. So, this is a good tool for prospecting for us.

I use the Formulate2 Optimizer a lot, especially when we're looking at an on-farm ingredient change or significant ingredient price changes at the mill and I have to reformulate a blend. A while back Blood meal price was favorably positioned but oddly enough the optimizer didn't pull it into the diet. It found a better cost diet without the blood meal. I wouldn't have found that without the optimizer. And, I want the best cost/benefit ratio for my customers.

So, I would say each farm's diets get optimized at least once a month, if not more. I think anyone runs feed cost up by formulating the diet manually. So, the more you optimize for your nutrient constraints - the more you're doing for the cow and the producer. I think that's especially true when feed prices are on the rise. If you choose not to optimize you're increasing feed costs 15 to 20 cents hd/day because feeds are not properly matched to your constraints on the basis of what they can provide in terms of nutrients and relative economic value. So, when I learned to optimize diets, I've stayed right with it.

I feel very confident going into a prospect that's making 5.7% combined fat and protein, and being able to get him another 0.5% of those components within a very short period of time. But, you really have to optimize the diet to do that.

Predictive Reliability

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!

Dr. Chuck Schwab - Professor Emeritus, Unversity of New Hampshire
Dr. Schwab is a member of the DFS LLC training team and provides insight and instruction regarding AA balancing and the NRC 2001 model.

Donna Foster - Member/Owner Diet Formulation Systems LLC - CEO/CFO
Donna makes things happen. She coordinates all the details, logistics etc, schedules all training activities and is the company networking liason.