A computer software program from Ohio State University can help nutritionists determine best-cost rations for their clients. Normand St-Pierre, dairy scientist at Ohio State, discussed the SESAME program at the recent Minnesota Nutrition Conference. He used the program to compare what would have been a best-cost (best nutritional value for the price) ration in 2004 compared to what it is currently. The current best-cost ration has more by-products, such as distillers grains, gluten feed and hominy, than the 2004 best-cost ration. There is less corn included. “Corn is still a bargain,” St-Pierre told those attending the conference. “It is just a more expensive bargain than it used to be.” There are more distillers grains in the current best-cost ration. (New tweaks to the SESAME program make it easier to change the energy values of distillers grains and plug those into the calculations, based on actual nutritent analyses.) One of St-Pierre’s take-home messages from the conference was to periodically question the need of every feed ingredient as prices change. To access the latest version of SESAME, go to www.sesame.com. Users can try the software for free for seven days, after which the cost to register the program is $99.95. To view St-Pierre’s presentation to the Minnesota Nutrition Conference, follow this link (PDF format).