An Australian-first app, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Drought Feed Calculator has gained national and global traction with an estimated 9000 downloads since its release.

NSW DPI sheep development officer, Geoff Casburn, said the universal appeal of the livestock feed app is reflected in the number of downloads recorded across Australia, India, United States, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, Pakistan, Egypt, and Italy.

“Designed for use in the paddock, the app is popular with producers who use it to develop well-informed and cost efficient feed strategies,” Mr Casburn said.

“NSW farmers managing livestock following bushfires have benefited from the app, which was used to calculate feed rations to maintain stock.

“In February 2017, the app was downloaded on 200 android and 250 apple devices, and we expect those numbers to increase if conditions continue to deteriorate across NSW.”

Users can develop full feeding rations for sheep and cattle by calculating daily feed requirements of dry, pregnant, lactating, and growing animals in tough times.

The app can calculate the total amount of feed required per head and for a mob of animals, over a selected period of time.

Mr Casburn said the app provides estimated energy, protein and dry matter values for 71 different feeds, including hay, grain, silage, and alternative feeds.

“Feed quality varies and the Drought Feed Calculator really comes into its own when producers can use feed test results,” he said.

“Laboratory tests, such as those available from the NSW DPI Feed Quality Service give producers the most accurate value of available feed.

“In drought situations producers can use the app to quickly work out minimum feed requirements for animals with a range of nutritional needs.

“Users can easily assess the value of different feeds by comparing the results for up to three feeds, as well as mixed rations.”

Drought Feed Calculator was developed by the DPI to consolidate information generated from more than 30 years of research and on-farm results into a simple, easy-to-use app. The app is free to download from the App Store or Google Play by searching ‘Drought Feed Calculator’.

Image: NSW Department of Primary Industries development officer, Geoff Casburn

This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.