The aim of the FST is to provide dairy and beef farmers with precise and up-to-date information about feed materials. Information includes composition of each material, nutritive value and current prices. This would allow the user not only to formulate an accurate ration but also to choose the most suitable feed materials by comparing them from this updated source.
Although in the NorFor system individual feedstuff have no fixed feed values because these are interaction-dependent, standard values of feeds were created to allow comparison of feedstuffs. Some examples are net energy, metabolizable protein and protein balance in the rumen (NEL, AAT, PBV). These standard values are calculated for each feed material for 2 levels of dry matter consumption of the cow (8 and 20 kg DM). The most used standard feed values are based on the standardized conditions of a cow consuming 20 kg DM: NEL20, AAT20 and PBV20 (Volden, 2011). Standard values allow the selection of feeds within a group for the optimization or for trading purposes.
FST is an online database
Another advantage of the FST is that is available online, making the process easier for farmers and other participants involved in the update and construction of the FST.
Feed companies have their own log-in user name and can access their own feeds for editing existing products or uploading new ones. Laboratories also have their web access and use it for delivering their results to the NorFor feed analysis system. These results are automatically transferred to the specific herd of the laboratory’s client, saving the advisor time and eliminating the risk for typing errors. Laboratories upload approximately 35000 feed analysis (mostly roughages) each year in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Germany and The Netherlands.
NorFor developed a very comprehensive FST, which is also included in the all the NorFor tools. All feedstuffs can be exported for formulating rations when working on a specific feed plan. Part of the FST is also available for public use at http://www.norfor.info/feed-table/. Over 300 hundred viewers visit NorFor FST each month. Viewers come not only from Scandinavian countries, but also from Germany, US, UK, The Netherlands, France and Russia.
Figure 1 shows the hierarchy system used in the NorFor FST. Hierarchy enables the user to divide feedstuff into region, feed group and feed type. This makes the FST easy to navigate for the desired feed materials.
FST also allows the user to choose the displayed parameters. These settings allow the creation of reports on several variables such as NDF, starch, protein, individual amino acids, fatty acid, within others. This reports can be exported on an excel sheet, ready for use in any calculations needed.
One of NorFor’s main goal is to continuously improve, making no exception in the database. As an example, there is a plan to add the parameter of CO2 equivalent to each feed in the FST. This will allow the estimation of the carbon foot print from feed cultivation. It will complement the carbon foot print from enteric emissions which which is already implemented and is estimated in NorFor’s Feed Ration Optimizer.
Moreover, today FST is available in 5 languages and there is a strong intention of including more languages soon.