Trial and Error Method of Feed Formulation

Method of Feed Formulation – Trial and Error Formula

The trial and error method of feed formulation would seem to be a confusing subject, as many would ask what this really means. Well, the in this article, we would expose what this really means, by providing you with all the information you need to know. By the end of this article, you would have gotten the details of what this term means and how to use the trial and error method of feed formulation to your advantage.

The trial and error method of feed formulation is usually used in the formulation rations especially for poultry and swine. Although using the trial and error method can be quite time consuming, yet, this method ensures that the entire nutrient requirement in a feed ration are met. To achieve the required results, the trial and error method manipulates different diets, until the required result is obtained.

The Application of Technology

To make the trial and error method of feed formulation a lot easier to use, technology has been introduced to make it less stressful. Today, it is available on computer based programs such as Spreadsheet, consisting of Quattro Pro, Excel and Lotus 123. However, apart from the use of computer programs, there are also other ways where the trial and error method can be used; an example of this is the use of manual means such as drawing it on paper.

Detailed Procedure to Using the Trial and Error Method for Feed Formulation

Using the trial and error method requires a primary feed ingredient. Now, any deficiencies found in this primary ingredient are made up through a modification process of the fundamental ration formula to arrive at a ration mixture. First a list of all the ingredients to be used accompanied with their nutrient compositions are made. The requirements of the particular feed ration to be composed should also be fixed. In order to achieve the desired results, a balancing process is carried out as shown below;

  1. 2% of the minerals and vitamins should be reserved.
  2. There should be an inclusion of a minimum percentage of ingredients that should be added for various reasons.
  3. Another requirement for using the trial and error method is the inclusion of ingredients having a higher energy value. This should be more than what is required in the ration at 30%. In the process of doing this, ingredients having the lowest price per unit energy should be given a higher preference. There is a maximum safe level for these ingredients, and this should never be surpassed or exceeded.
  4. When formulating the ration, ingredients having higher protein contents should be included. This should be higher than the required levels. This however should have a cap, which should be at 18%. Just like the previous step, a higher preference for those ingredients having the lowest price per unit of protein should be considered. This should however, should not exceed the maximum safety levels or limit.
  5. In this step, the quantities and percentages of all the nutrients should be added and the requirements of the targeted livestock compared with these nutrient quantities. This is a step aimed at achieving balance.
  6. The selection of a missing ingredient having a rich composition of both protein and energy should be made. This ingredient is then added to the final ration to constitute 10% of it. This process should be repeated until a 100% result is obtained through a repetition of step 5 above with every addition.
  7. Some ingredients may need to be substituted to achieved or arrive at the needed nutrient requirements. The levels where this step should be taken is between the 90 to 100% range.

These are the steps and guidelines to follow when using the trial and error method to formulate feeds. This method can be applied to any type of feed type, although it is most common to poultry and swine feeds.

Merit and Demerit of Using the Trial and Error Method of Feed Formulation

The trial and error method of feed formulation has its merit as well as demerit. An advantage of using this method is that it makes it possible to produce a feed which contains every nutrient requirement of the livestock. The demerit is that the entire process is usually painstaking, as such, it consumes a lot of time and effort. Although this method is very helpful, to achieve desired results can be tiring and time consuming.

However, technology has come to the rescue, as this same process can be achieved within a considerably lower amount of time. This has eliminated most of the hard work required to get the results. With computer programs, required parameters are imputed into computer programs (spreadsheet programs which include Quattro Pro, Excel and Lotus 123 among other).

The trial and error method of feed formulation is one of the most popular feed formulation methods used the world over. Although this method may have its flaws, there are also benefits to using this method as disclosed above. Also, we have seen that the usage of the trial and error method of feed formulation is more common for poultry and swine farmers.

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