CowBytes ration-balancing software allows Canadian beef cattle producers to formulate their own feed rations. Producers can input various combinations of feed and byproducts at different prices to reduce feed costs while meeting animal production targets. 

CowBytes was developed for Windows but may work on a Mac with virtual machine software. Caution is advised for Apple users.

The software will be delivered on a USB flash drive via regular mail. The $60 fee includes GST/HST and shipping.

Version 5.4 contains no significant upgrades from the 2012 version. All proceeds will fund future CowBytes upgrades.

Current estimated delivery for Canadian orders: 3 weeks 

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Learn More About CowBytes

What is CowBytes?

CowBytes version 5.4 is an easy-to-use ration balancing software that can assist cattle producers in developing rations and improving herd nutrition. The program allows producers to select the type and breeds of cattle that they want to feed, then select the productivity levels of cattle based on body weight, average daily gain, body condition score and the stage of gestation or milk production in cows. Producers can also adjust for climatic conditions such as wind or temperature, which affect nutritional requirements.

CowBytes comes with a feed table that is based on the average value of Alberta feeds.

1. Select your chosen feed(s) from the feed table.

2. Modify the nutrient content of the feed to match your own feed test results.

3. Input the amount fed of chosen feeds to balance the ration for energy, protein, macro-minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, and trace minerals such as copper, selenium and vitamins A and E.

4. Once the ration is balanced, you can generate eight different reports including feed mix and batch-scale sheets. 

Custom feeding and feed inventory reports can also be generated. These features can help producers make decisions about purchasing feed in advance or selling animals to match feed inventory with cattle requirements. A yardage calculator is also included where producers can enter their facility, equipment and operating costs (such as insurance, taxes, veterinary services, labour, fuel, utilities, repairs), along with the number of cattle and the number of days on feed, to be able to determine the yardage costs per head per day.  

How Was CowBytes Developed?

CowBytes was originally developed by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) in collaboration with Saskatchewan and Manitoba agriculture departments, Agriculture Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. Version 1 debuted in 1991 and has since been a popular tool for producers across Canada. CowBytes was available for purchase from AAF until 2020. Because AAF no longer has the capacity to distribute or update CowBytes, the BCRC has assumed the CowBytes trademark and responsibility for the software. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture will remain an active partner, providing technical support for users and the beef nutrition expertise to lead future upgrades.