What is Feed Formulation?
In the not so distant past, feed manufacturers used to balance their feeds using hand calculations and often relied on tedious trial and error methods. The availability of commercial computers by the end of the 1960s meant that complex mathematical models could be solved much more easily and within a short duration of time.
Twenty years later, the arrival of the personal computer provided affordable feed formulation solutions to the feed industry. Advancements in computer technology, mathematical modeling and animal nutrition have resulted in vast improvements in the last 20-25 years in the way feeds are formulated.
Definition: Least-cost feed formulation
Least-cost feed formulation is combining many feed ingredients in a certain proportion to provide the target animal with a balanced nutritional feed at the least possible cost. Though least-cost formulation is a mathematical solution based on linear programming, it requires the professional knowledge of animal nutritionists who take into consideration the nutrient requirements of the target animal and its capability to digest and assimilate nutrients from various available ingredients.
Feed formulators also need to be aware of the variations of nutritional requirements for different species at various stages of their lifespan. The linear programming performs what is designed to do and it is based on the information put in by the formulator.