(Beef Cattle Research Council) – The popular ration-balancing software, CowBytes, is once again available to Canadian cattle producers.

CowBytes, which is now available through the Beef Cattle Research Council, can help producers who are looking to reduce feed costs without sacrificing nutrition or reproductive performance.

BCRC Extension Coordinator Ellen Crane explains.

“Cowbytes ration balancing software allows producers to formulate their own feed rations while considering various combinations of feed and by-products at different prices. And in doing so, can find a way to reduce feed costs by still meeting production targets. Ensuring that cattle are being fed a balanced ration can also save producers on their feed costs in the long run by preventing over or underfeeding,” says Crane.

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She says CowBytes can help producers make decisions about purchasing feed or selling animals to balance their feed inventory with their cattle requirements.

“The program allows producers to select the type and breeds of cattle they want to feed, then select their productivity levels of cattle based on body weight, average daily gain, body condition score, and the stage of gestation or milk production in cows. After selecting your chosen feeds, you can then modify the nutrient content to match your own feed test results. Once the ration is balanced, you can then generate eight different reports, including feed mix and batch scale sheets. Custom feeding and feed inventory reports can also be generated.”

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CowBytes was originally developed by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in collaboration with Saskatchewan and Manitoba agriculture departments, Agriculture Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. The first version debuted in 1991 and the software was updated over the years, making it a popular and effective tool for Canadian beef producers. However, the software had not been available for purchase since 2020.

The BCRC recently acquired responsibility of the CowBytes software and is now accepting orders through BeefResearch.ca/CowBytes.