Phone app tracks nutrient levels in feed for home mixers

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/ktsimage
© iStock/ktsimage

Related tags Chicken

A feed app for smartphones is aimed at helping poultry producers better mix their own feed using local ingredients, says researcher.

The FeedMix app, released by Justin Fowler, assistant professor with department of poultry science the University of Georgia, was developed to offer a simple way for producers to understand more about the feed they were putting together.

“It is targeting anyone who mixes their own feed,”​ he told us.

It does not matter if producers are raising 10 birds or 1,000 birds as long as they are mixing their own feed, he said.

The program informs producers the levels or percentages of different nutrients they have in their feed. “They had no way to evaluate the feeds for what they were missing,”​ said Fowler.

The app can be tailored to provide information for pullets, laying hens in production and for three separate phases of broiler chicken production.

Ghana poultry project  

The app grew out of a project on Ghana that Fowler and others were involved in through the World Poultry Foundation. The broader goal is to establish an extension-style training program in that region.  

During a talk on nutrition with producers in that country it became evident that they lacked a way to track nutrient levels in their feed, he said.

Many feed mixers knew how many pounds of corn or soybean meal to use, but were lacking other details: “When I asked them about how much protein they were feeding, they said they had no idea.”

Many of the producers already had smartphones, and that factor proved the trigger for FeedMix, said Fowler. 

The app can be used to solve production problems related to unbalanced elements in the diet.

“If it comes up that egg production is low, it could be low for many reasons, but it could be because there is too little calcium in the diet and that was a question that they couldn’t answer – is egg production bad because of the calcium level?”

In addition to feed ingredients commonly used in the US, the program can evaluate raw materials such as palm kernel meal and cassava tubers, which are prevalent in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.

The app may be further developed, said Fowler, to allow for the addition of more region-specific feed ingredients.

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