National Animal Nutrition Program aims to support NRC projects

National Animal Nutrition Program set up to support activities related to updating NRC nutrient recommendation publications.

 M.D. Hanigan of Virginia Tech, C.R. Angel of the University of Maryland, C.F.M. de Lange of the University of Guelph, E. Kebreab of the University of California-Davis, J.P. McNamara of Washington State University, L.O Tedeschi of Texas A&M University, N.L. Trottier and M.J. VandeHaar of Michigan State University presented an update to the National Animal Nutrition Program (NANP) in abstract T55.

NANP is a research-support activity established as National Research Support Project 9 (NRSP-9) to facilitate the use of predictive technologies, tools and platforms, and to support the efforts of the National Research Council (NRC). The goals are to provide maintenance of the nutrient requirement models and software between NRC releases, to collect user feedback, to provide guidelines and tools for scientists and instructors using modeling to address nutrition problems, and to facilitate knowledge development and dissemination.

According to the NANP group, two calculation errors in the 2001 Dairy NRC model were corrected and the installation program was recompiled to support 64-bit Windows installations. They also created an installation program to allow the 2000 Beef NRC to be operated on modern Windows based computers. Both are available on the website.

The NANP group is working to develop a review of techniques used to evaluate models, an article listing guidelines for reporting dietary information in publications, and an article describing a software platform that could be used across NRC species requirement models. They said they are also developing a database to store observational data collected by the NRC committees that can be downloaded and used for model development.

Future work includes development of a web based mechanism to provide access to the model source code for use by the animal nutrition research community, collection of feedback from model users to help identify software problems and prediction problems, summarization of evaluations of the current NRC models, and an assessment of supply and requirement model subcomponents that could be used across species.

These changes will facilitate the use of NRC models in diet formulation, update NRC models more rapidly as new information becomes available and at lower cost, and improve effciency of feed use and sustainability in animal agriculture. Additional information on the project is available at http://www.ca.uky.edu/nrsp-9/index.htm. 

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