I am looking for a feed formulation programme! No, this is not a ‘wanted’ advertisement, but an invitation to discuss what is out there and what best suits everyone. So, let me start by sharing my own experiences and frustrations, so far.
In my previous work for Provimi, I have been exposed to both big names in the market, namely, Format and Brill. They are both very powerful and quite complex. Although they both do the job, one is extremely sophisticated, the other very ‘click’ intensive. I found them at their best when a dedicated person was assigned to them exclusively. So, in my opinion they are most suited for feed plants. I might be wrong but this is my impression!
For my new role, as a consulting nutritionist, I find my needs are less, but more ‘user’ friendly, whereas presentation of the final printout is of paramount importance. Flexibility is also a must as the needs of a customer in Poland are not the same for a customer in Canada!
So far, I have checked the demos of Optimix (Brazil) and Feedsoft (USA). One is full of bugs and crashed several times, which reminded me why I moved away from a Windows-based PC to a Mac! The other is lacking basic functions, like the ability to automatically create a partial premix and keep the new formula as a product and as an ingredient!
During Eurotier, I was presented with Bestmix, which might be the one. It is complicated and flexible enough, and quite presentable. Yet, there is no demo and while the people at the booth were kind enough to give us an extensive live demo, I am reluctant to fork out a big chunk of money sight-unseen! Yes, it is quite expensive…
Of course, one can do a whole lot of formulation with Excel, which contains a special add-on function for least-cost optimisation. It is not as flexible, of course, and I might have to go back studying Visual Basic (a language of computer programming). Which I might do as well, because I don’t feel I have many viable options.
So, the question now becomes ‘what are your experiences?’ How do you formulate your own diets, and if you don’t who is doing this for you and what are they using?