The Consulting Nutritionist is a computer program designed for those individuals providing nutritional advice to livestock producers with up to date scientific information. The initial version developed at the dawn of the computer revolution was introduced in 1980 by using an Apple computer. The current version uses the same logic for developing rations but the capability has been enhanced because of great advances in both computer and biological technology. Widespread use of The Consulting Nutritionist in the feed industry has provided valuable feedback with regard to features needed to improve the program. Annual updates have incorporated various features in to the program.
Windows Visual Basic and DotNET are now the Development platforms in use. We have retained the functionality that has evolved, yet taken advantage of the exponential growth in functionality of Windows. This comes at a time when the scientific biological information has greatly expanded with the publication of Nutrient Requirements of Beef(1996), Swine(1998), Dairy(2001) and Equine(2007).
The Consulting Nutritionist is a multi species state of the art program that develops rations with the same style whether the rations are designed for beef, dairy, equine or swine. Ingredient libraries from 1996 Beef NRC and 1998 Swine NRC are the basis for the master ingredient files. As is the case of any new system, research will develop better values for nutrients. We have changed some nutrient values based on the new version of Cornell CNCPS. Our ingredient library also contains some nutrients such a crude fiber and ADF, which were excluded from 1996 Beef NRC. Although some might feel they are not necessary, they still might be useful to some users.
The Consulting Nutritionist is designed to be used by a wide variety of individuals. While the major users are consultants and feed company representatives, the expanded scientific base in the Windows version will make the program useful to the academic community as well. A special version of the program has been developed for livestock producers who tend to be focused on a single species. We provide options such as metric or imperial, as fed or 100% DM for ingredients, as fed or 100% DM for nutrients, concentrations or amount requirements, concentration or amount display. We provide options to select only appropriate ingredients and nutrients which are needed for a given user and options to select only features which are necessary for a given situation. We also provide options with regard to how a printout will look and what information it contains.
There is a wide range in how a particular individual uses The Consulting Nutritionist. Some users may want to merely input a formula to determine the nutrient profile while others may want to see a detailed breakdown of protein and carbohydrates as determined from the Cornell Model. We don’t expect all users to use all the features of the program but they are available, thus allowing you to tailor the program to your needs.
The Consulting Nutritionist incorporates the latest computer technology. By designing the program specifically for use on a 32-bit platform, we can utilize the built in features of Windows to allow fax and e-mail. The Consulting Nutritionist is also the first, and currently the only, ration formulation program that incorporates Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications technology (VBA) with .Net 2.0 components. VBA allows users with basic programming knowledge to write programs to expand the functionality of the program. While the program will run on most computers, we recommend at least a Pentium 4 with 512 mb of RAM.
The Consulting Nutritionist is moving to the .NET framework creating CN.Dalex. CN.Dalex builds on the many features of the current Dalex Consulting Nutritionist while providing a number of significant enhancements for the user. CN.Dalex offers superior least cost ration balancing for Dairy, Beef and Swine and allows the user to simultaneously balance and/or evaluate rations using multiple nutritional models.
The new platform is based on the most advanced development technologies and is designed to operate on Windows XP as well as the more modern Operating Systems such as Vista and Windows 7. CN.Dalex supports working in a networked environment yet will continue to operate as a standalone desktop application allowing the user to use the program whether connected to the internet or in the field.
Server connectivity allows the user to easily share customer rations with other users, facilitates “real time” auto updates and provides Auto Back-up assuring your data is secure. CN.Dalex even allows the user to set up Feed Mills used for producer rations with different ingredients and/or prices. Minimum requirements to run CN.Dalex include Windows 7, an i5 processor and 4 gbs of RAM.
The model described in 1996 Beef NRC has greatly expanded the capability of expressing nutrient requirements by considering more variables. We have incorporated all of the equations into The Consulting Nutritionist program so that the evaluation of a ration can be performed instantly without the need to setup the ration in a separate NRC Beef Model program. Perhaps even more important is the ability to determine the appropriate requirements before a ration is formulated. Dr. Terry Klopfenstein at the University of Nebraska has provided consultation and equations in the area of microbial protein and rumen microbial yield to improve the accuracy of requirements.
The model described in 1998 Nutrient Requirements of Swine is the basis for nutrient requirements. An abundance of new knowledge since the last edition of Swine Requirements enables one to consider the effects of growth rate, carcass leanness, gender, health, temperature and crowding on nutrient requirements. We have incorporated all of the equations in 1998 Swine NRC into our program so that selected nutrient requirements for a ration can be calculated prior to formulation.
The most recent Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle were published in 2001. The equations in that publication are included in our new program. Windows Consulting Nutritionist used a combination of the Level 2-digestion model in 1996 Beef NRC and CNCPS Model to provide a more detailed description of nutrient requirements and analysis. The dairy section also incorporates technology developed at Cornell University under the leadership of Dr. Danny Fox to improve some features in the 1996 Beef NRC such as factorial mineral equations, improved activity sub model and revised nutrient values for ingredients. CN.Dalex contains NRC 1989, NRC 2001, CPM and the most up to date CNCPS model.