Formulating the least cost feeding strategy of a custom feeding programme: A linear programming approach

By: Bonani Nyhodo, Victor Mbulah Mmbengwa, Abongile Balarane & Xolile Ngetu

The profitability of a developmental project depends on effective use of available resources. That is normally referred to as appropriate decision making that requires a computation of a feasible option among several options to determine the optimal choice. To do that (get the optimal choice) a mathematical technique called Linear Programming was used in this study to provide the cost minimisation option (feed ration). The feed ration that was computed is the least cost feeding strategy (cheapest feed ration that meets the dietary requirements of cattle) appropriate for the custom feeding programme run by the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC). The custom feeding programme, like commercial feedlots, keep animals in a zero grazing and unlike the commercial feedlots accepts even older animals. Noteworthy is that the cost of feed constitute the biggest input used in the custom feeding programme (more than 60% share of total cost of all input used). Therefore, minimising the cost of buying feed is very important to the NAMC and all stakeholders involved in purchasing of feed. The optimal solution indicates that the least or cheapest feed would cost the NAMC R4.71c/kg which is a combination of VM and MB. The most expensive feed to add in the ration would be Lucerne and yellow maize meal. The feasible solution has surpluses of each of the required nutrients. (Published in the OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development)

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