Extension News

Iowa State University Introduces Horse Nutrition Software



AMES, Iowa - Horse owners, stable operators, nutritionists and educators now have a software package available that will allow them to improve the nutritional balance of the rations they feed. The Iowa Beef Center in conjunction with the Animal Science Equine Program at Iowa State University (ISU) has joined forces to produce Horse BRANDS, an interactive spreadsheet for Microsoft Excel.

Horse BRANDS is programmed to assist horse enthusiasts in better balancing rations for all breed types (ponies, light and draft) under varying levels of activity, stage of life, body condition and in the case of mares, in various stages of reproductive status. Unique to this software package is the ability to account for environmental variation for horses housed in stables or those that deal with outdoor conditions.

"We are very excited about this software package, as it represents an affordable computer program suited to both novice and experienced horse nutritionists," said Daryl Strohbehn from the Iowa Beef Center and professor of Animal Science at ISU. "The basis of this software comes from the National Research Council, but a number of enhancements were added from the experience of equine experts at Iowa State University," Strohbehn continued.

One of those ISU experts is Peggy Miller, associate professor and Extension horse specialist and co-author of Horse BRANDS. "This nutrition program offers a sound set of standards from which owners can build excellent rations for high performance horses as well as less active horses," Miller stated. "Additionally, I am excited that we can now formulate rations for the growing and developing weanling through to a two-year-old horse," Miller added.

Horse BRANDS is available in two different versions, the Professional Horse Companion Module and the Standard Horse Companion Module. These programs can work alone or as a companion to the existing beef orientated BRANDS programs. Garland Dahlke, program specialist at the Iowa Beef Center and co-author of the program, explains that the Professional Horse Companion program has many special features. "For instance, we've included the ability to evaluate a ration across all activity levels at one time, the capability of multiple feed library storages for the consulting horse nutritionist, and the ability to create least-cost, custom supplements for typical rations being fed." The Professional Horse Companion Module requires Excel 2000 or newer, while the Standard Horse Companion Module will run on earlier versions of Excel.

Horse enthusiasts and managers can purchase Horse BRANDS by contacting the Iowa State University Extension Distribution Center at (515) 294-5247 or emailing at pubdist@iastate.edu. For more program features, prices and a printable order form visit http://www.iowabeefcenter.org.

The Iowa Beef Center began operation in 1996 to support the growth and vitality of the beef industry of the state. For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.iowabeefcenter.org or call (515) 294-BEEF.


Contacts :

Daryl Strohbehn, Animal Science, (515) 294-3020, stroh@iastate.edu

Peggy Miller, Animal Science, (515) 294-5260, peggy@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu