Beef Ration and Nutrition Decisions Software (BRaNDS)


The BRaNDS software is designed to assist you in the formulation of rations for beef cattle.  The guidelines are taken from the 2016 NASEM publication on the Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle and some additional peer reviewed research that contributes to this cause.  The software comes with written and video tutorials to assist in the use of the program.  Other support is available through the Iowa Beef Center.

What exactly does BRaNDS show you? View a report output sample.

Professional vs Standard Editions
There are both professional and standard editions to the program. Both versions:

  • Allow you to change the default feed nutrient values with your own feed’s nutrients.
  • Allow for formulation of metabolizable protein, net energy, effective fiber, minerals and vitamins.
  • Provide both the results of the formulation as well as the projected cost per pound gain and cost per day.
  • Allow in-vitro NDF and dry matter digestibility data to be incorporated for a more accurate estimate of feed energy.
  • Take into account changes in digestibility brought on by rumen pH and other nutrient interactions.
  • Allow reports on feed mixing, diet results, and what is still needed in the supplement report.

The professional version provides some additional features such as:

  • The ability to draw ingredients from multiple feed libraries.
  • The ability to maintain a catalogue of producers within the same program.
  • Long range projection on what a series of rations will produce in a given growing animal.
  • Least cost formulation.
  • Programmed feeding reports.
  • Supplement and other batch mixing apart from the formulated ration.

The standard edition is a bit more flexible across computer platforms and only requires that the computer you use has MS Excel installed. The professional version requires that Windows and Excel be installed on the computer used to operate the program.

State Editions
As you will see there are different states associated with the different versions. The formulation of the diet is essentially the same, but the climate defaults values and feed library default values are a little different. All these defaults can and should be updated to your location and situation so the state version is not critical unless you do not want to change the defaults.

BRaNDS support

Quick Notes regarding BRaNDS Setup and Use

BRaNDS modules and information

BRaNDS 0100: Standard Cow and Heifer Edition
The Beef Cow Module uses criteria like condition score, production stage, breed type, weather conditions, and feedstuff utilization to determine if nutritional demands of the herd are met. Included is a modifiable feed library, which replaces previous ISU cow program MCS 13. The Heifer Module is a calendarized or lifecycle approach that can go back to a baby calf and be utilized through the third trimester of the first pregnancy to do developing heifer rations. This program incorporates the target weight concept to assist the user in balancing rations that meet target daily weight gains. Batch mix and TMR are included.

Eastern Cornbelt

BRaNDS 0200: Growing and Breeding Bull, Standard Edition
Ideally suited for bull test rations, the Growing and Breeding Bull Module takes into account factors influencing nutrient demand and feedstuff choices to determine if weight gain goals are met. This module is for breeding age bulls. Like the Beef Cow Module in concept, this program assists in optimizing the use of feedstuffs in maintaining the herd bull battery.

BRaNDS 0300: Standard Feedyard Edition
This module helps solve everyday feedlot ration problems. Besides normal cattle descriptions, frame size defined by weight at 50-percent choice, facility type, environment and feedstuff mixes are used to calculate whether daily gain goals are met. Implant type, Optaflexx, and MGA are included. Replaces previous ISU feedlot program MCS 7.

Eastern Cornbelt

BRaNDS 0400: Complete Standard -  Cow, Calf and Replacement Heifer, Breeding Bulls, Developing Bulls, Feedlot Cattle and Stocker Cattle
Eastern Cornbelt

BRaNDS 0500: Professional Edition
This version was developed with the frequent ration developer and consultant in mind. Included are modules for Cow, Calf and Replacement Heifer, Breeding Bulls, Developing Bulls, Feedlot Cattle and Stocker Cattle.

Eastern Cornbelt


BRaNDS 0050 Appendix

The BRaNDS Appendix contains many tools for estimating feed quantities and qualities along with some cattle and pasture growth and development. The Appendix is part of the Professional Edition, but can be purchased separately for use with other editions.

BRaNDS 0600: Iowa Stocker Edition

Use to evaluate and formulate rations for growing cattle on grass or crop residue. Utilize your own feed analysis or refer to the program’s default feed library. Recommendations primarily based on The National Academies for Science, Engineering and Medicine documents.

NOTE: Standard Editions require Microsoft Excel on PC or Macintosh computers. The Professional Edition requires a PC running Microsoft Excel.