Computers

During the past 35 years, the feed business has been revolutionized by computers. Diet formulation, least-cost diet formulas, process and inventory control, and accounting have been impacted by the introduction of computers. Nutritionists can not only formulate diets from palatable feeds that meet the nutritional requirements of animals, they can also formulate diets from ingredients that minimize the total cost of the formula. Data describing the physical characteristics of each ingredient, restrictions on the amount of a given ingredient, and current prices can now all be handled in great detail using linear programming and least-cost formulation (16).

Computers are also being used to simulate livestock production systems to study inputs and their impact on production output and net returns. These programs are more sophisticated than older measures of profit potential (17).

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