Southwest: Technology advancements on 
feed management software

Although, times are not the best in the dairy industry, companies continue to invest in emerging technology that develop and advance the industry.

EZfeed is one those programs that is growing and changing with an evolving industry, said Wade Fox, a former dairyman who now is  DHI-Provo product manager. With the recent upgrade of one of the industry’s most widely used feed management programs – EZfeed 9.1.61 – producers will have new tools to improve their feed program management.

One of the most important software improvements includes milk weight entry across a date range along with butterfat percent, protein percent, solids nonfat percent, other solids percent, SCC and MUN, values, plus total value received for your milk on the same screen.

Fox says, this enables the producer to enter all the information from his or her milk check. By entering this information the program can provide feed efficiency and income over feed cost information on either a fat corrected milk or energy corrected milk basis.

These values can also be imported from processors, several years at a time in just a few minutes to provide immediate access to historical milk information. New graphs will be available in the next release that allows users to monitor seasonal trends and apply control charts to the data.

One of the biggest updates has been the gross weight change detail and the ability to graph this out. With the gross change detail graph producers are quickly able to graph any load that was fed, and it will show weight changes that happen during loading and unloading as well as driving habits of feeders, Fox explained.

Also, if ingredients are loaded during the transition from one ingredient to the next or earlier than expected, if weight is simulated by pressing the loader bucket against the mixer this will be flagged with a red marker. Mixing pauses and unloading information is also monitored through the graphs.

The gross change detail graph has been an asset on operations in uncovering feeders’ bad habits. On one dairy, the manager found that his inventory was off between two ingredients that were feed back to back. With the updated program, the producer was able to graph out the loads, which showed the feeder was overfeeding one ingredient by adding it to the next ingredient and underfeeding the second ingredient. This resulted in their inventory being short on one ingredient and long on the other. Producers or nutritionists will find the graph capabilities a valuable asset. Tolerances also can be set to automatically pick out these errors, Fox said.

Programmers added five new columns to the quick summary as the program opens. Items added include refusal percent, butter fat percent, protein percent, SCC and MUN readings. These are key values to monitoring the performance of feed, rations and production. Other important values in today’s economy that are displayed on the quick summary are IOFC (Income over Feed Cost), Cost per CWT, and FE (Feed Efficiency) values on an ECM (Energy Corrected Milk) basis.

According to Fox, producers will also notice the enhanced tool tips within the screens when the operator moves the cursor over anything, they are able to see what specifics are in that screen. Programmers also made changes in the ingredient setup screen; nutritionists can now do projections based on current date and time instead of calculations based on the end of day and previous day.

Enhanced security within the program now allows operators to set up passwords for each individual user. No unauthorized person can access the program without user name and password.

The new system also includes inventory loss and gain data values, which can be used to effectively monitor inventory shrink, Fox said. That is inventory that has been lost or gained not mixed, sold or transferred. The program subtracts the ending inventory from the beginning inventory, then calculates the deliveries and transfers to a particular ingredient. Then subtracting the inventory mixed, sold and transfers to other ingredients.