An improved algorithm for solving profit-maximizing cattle diet problems

Gabriel Marques, Rafael De Oliveira Silva, Luis Gustavo Barioni,, J.A. Julian Hall, Luis Orlindo Tedeschi, Dominic Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract

Feeding cattle with on-pasture supplementation or feedlot diets can increase animal efficiency and system profitability while minimizing environmental impacts. However, cattle system profit margins are relatively small and nutrient supply accounts for most of the costs. This paper introduces a nonlinear profit-maximizing diet formulation problem for beef cattle based on well-established predictive equations. Nonlinearity in predictive equations for nutrient requirements poses methodological challenges in the application of optimization techniques. In contrast to other widely used diet formulation methods, we develop a mathematical model that guarantees an exact solution for maximum profit diet formulations. Our method can efficiently solve an

often-impractical nonlinear problem by solving a finite number of linear problems, i.e., linear time complexity is achieved through parametric linear programming. Results show the impacts of choosing different objective functions (minimizing cost, maximizing profit, maximizing profit per daily weight gain) and how this may lead to different optimal solutions. In targeting improved ration formulation on feedlot systems, the paper demonstrates how profitability and nutritional constraints can be met as an important part of a sustainable intensification production strategy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal
Early online date23 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Linear programming
  • Nonlinear programming
  • Ration formulation
  • Optimization
  • Feedlot

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