The DRASTIC computer software packages a new approach to rationing dairy cattle in the tropics. A major problem of rationing cows under these conditions is the lack of information on the nutritional quality of available feeds. This is compounded by a high degree of variation in feed quality that makes routine chemical analysis or reliance on “book values” for composition of little practical use. In order to address these difficulties, DRASTIC formulations access the whole range of variability observed in tropical feeds. Simple indicators of feed quality that may be applied by farmers are used to prime an artificial intelligence algorithm. This generates data to run a biological simulation of protein and energy nutrition that predicts the outcome, in terms of milk production achieved, of using a particular mix of feeds.

Some key features of DRASTIC:

  • User friendlinessNo expert knowledge of nutrition needed to operate it
  • Simple field observations are used to assess feed quality
  • For the first time, predictive rationing may be applied in a field situation
  • Copes effectively with variation in feed quality …
  • … even when quantitative feed composition data are unreliable

You can also view the DRASTIC project profile for further information.