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IPad app shows value in feeding omegas

PD Editor Karen Lee Published on 24 June 2011

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Efficiency is a word that has marked the last decade of dairy farming and now … there’s an app for that!

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Virtus Nutrition has developed what it claims is the “first iPad dairy app available on iTunes.”

The Omega Nutrition Value Calculator was originally developed for the Virtus Nutrition sales team, but dairy producer customers are finding it useful as well.

“It was made to be very simple,” says Matt Swanson, owner of Virtus Nutrition. “It does calculations based on data we’ve collected.”

After Swanson began operating a dairy himself, it didn’t take long for him to realize the amount of time he spent meeting with salesmen that offered a variety of products. Ultimately, all he wanted to know was: What’s it going to do for me? What will it cost? What is the level of return?

This app answers all of those questions for his company’s omega products in just a few minutes.

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The simple interface asks a user to enter the name of the herd, number of cows, production per cow, price of milk, etc.

The app then calculates the number of cows in the window of 21 days pre-calving and the first 90 days of the lactation that should consume these products.

“These products we’re talking about are not for every cow in the herd,” Swanson says.

It shows the cost to feed this portion of cows on an annual total herd and per-cow basis, and it monetizes the income as it relates to milk response and the value of added pregnancies.

The final output is a colored bar graph of net value based on the milk price the user enters.

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App users can easily alter the milk price and pounds of milk produced per cow to see varying results.

“It’s a way for the sales team to cut to the chase,” Swanson says, “but it’s really for producers because it gives them a clear picture immediately on how much to feed and what they can expect in return.”

Robert Brown, manager at Wild West Dairy in New Mexico, says he’s known the benefits of feeding omega 3 and 6 products for years, but this application helps define that for him.

For the 3,800-cow dairy he manages, the calculator figures a net profit of $300,000.

“It helps to actually see the results scaled out. You can really make up your mind on whether or not to use the product,” Brown says.

As for use, he says, “It’s pretty simple. You just click on the boxes to enter the numbers.”

Brown uses the calculator at least once a month. As the herd number and milk price changes, he recalculates it to see what the farm is spending compared to the profit it is receiving.

This app is available to anyone as a free download for use on an iPad or iPhone. It can be found on iTunes under Virtus Nutrition. It is also available online at www.virtusnutrition.com PD

Karen Lee
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