The highly anticipated Spartan Dairy 3.0 ration evaluation program is now on the market, and dairy producers interested in learning how to use the new program will be able to take part in a hands-on workshop Feb. 4 at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in Frankenmuth.
Spartan Dairy 3.0 is a complete revision of the popular Spartan 2 ration balancer used by many farmers, nutritionists, veterinarians, Extension educators and dairy science instructors.
"In creating Spartan Dairy 3.0, we focused on keeping the user-friendly format that made Spartan 2 popular," says Dr. Mike VandeHaar, Michigan State University (MSU) animal science professor and lead author of the program. "The new version has a spreadsheet interface, reports that can be viewed before printing and movable columns."
VandeHaar will be conducting a Spartan Dairy 3.0 training workshop on Feb. 4 at 1:30 p.m. at the GLRDC, which will take place at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth
Spartan Dairy 3.0 is a stand-alone program that runs in a Windows-based system. Those interested in testing the new program can take advantage of a free 120-day trial subscription that utilizes a fully functional demonstration system.
"It's important to us that our customers like the program before purchasing it, so we're offering a free trial period," VandeHaar says. "We also offer free limited technical support to help iron out any problems that may come up when installing it. "
The purchase price for Spartan Dairy 3.0 is $450. Shipping and handling costs an additional $10. Michigan residents receive a $50 discount when purchasing the program. Bulk discounts are available when more than five copies are ordered.
MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology dairy management graduate Nate Elzinga's Daybreak Dairy in Zeeland served as a test farm for the Spartan Dairy 3.0 program for two years prior to its release.
"I really like the easy-to-use format and the updated feedstuffs information," he says. "We (Daybreak Dairy) can continue to make and track changes in diets over time. We have also found that intake information is very accurate on our farm now as compared to when we used other programs."
Spartan Dairy 3.0 was developed thanks to funding provided from the sales of the Spartan Dairy 2 program, the MSU Department of Animal Science and the Animal Agriculture Initiative (AAI) at MSU. The AAI is a grassroots partnership between MSU, livestock producers and industry organizations, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to develop profitable and sustainable farm production practices, environmentally sound manure management systems and scientifically sound animal nutrition, comfort and disease diagnosis and treatment standards, and to improve the quality and safety of processed animal products.
To register online for the Feb. 4 workshop being held in conjunction with the GLRDC, visit www.glrdc.msu.edu, or call Megghan Honke at 517-353-3175. The GLRDC offers two full days of educational programming, a trade show, breed association and youth meetings and activities, and an industry-wide awards banquet. The early registration deadline is Jan. 21.
For more information on the Spartan Dairy 3.0 ration balancing program, to download the demonstration or find purchasing options, visit www.spartandairy.msu.edu, or send an e-mail to Carla McLachlan at firstname.lastname@example.org.