An R package to compute the energy balance for ruminants under both grazing and pen-fed conditions

Taro Takahashi, Karl Behrendt, David Kemp

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


Grassland degradation is a serious environmental problem around the world, with off-site impacts of soil erosion affecting wider communities beyond those engaging in livestock farming (Kemp and Michalk, 2007). In order to operationalise an alternative farming system that is beneficial to both producers and the ecological environment, the energy and nutritional demands for animal production must be met, either through grassland production, supplementary feeding or the combination of the two, in an efficient manner (Kemp et al., 2013). The use of specialized biophysical models to estimate the energy balance of livestock is a well-proven solution to find such an economically efficient yet environmentally friendly production system. However, the initial cost borne by the user is known to be high, in terms of the financial outlay as well as the learning time.The objective of the present paper is to introduce a newly developed tool to compute the energy balance of ruminants under both grazing and pen-fed conditions. The proposed tool takes the form of a publicly available package to be loaded onto the R platform (R Core Team, 2015). Because this platform is open-source, there is no acquisition cost associated to the introduction of the package. In addition, the high penetration rate of the platform, especially in developing regions that are amongst the most susceptible to grassland degradation, makes the learning cost of the package significantly lower than that of typical specialized software.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event23rd International Grassland Congress - New Delhi, India
Duration: 20 Nov 201524 Nov 2015 (Archived conference webpage) (Published proceedings)


Conference23rd International Grassland Congress
Abbreviated titleSustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection
CityNew Delhi
Internet address


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