“Open, SESAME!” Say the magic word and you can be on your way to slashing animal feed costs and obtaining a more balanced diet for your livestock operation.

SESAME, a computer application developed by The Ohio State University scientists, provides food-animal producers with a comprehensive tool to make better feed-purchasing choices. Simple economics and statistics combine to help users find the breakeven price of any feedstuff they want to consider.

“Feeds are just vehicles of nutrients,” says software developer Normand St-Pierre, a scientist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “Unless you know what the feed contains, you can’t put a value to it. Up until now, all methods used to value feedstuffs shared common flaws.”

SESAME is one way to avoid those flaws and get more accurate results by pricing feedstuffs according to the amount of nutrients they contain. The program uses market prices of more than 140 types of feed to estimate simultaneously the market value of nutrients and the breakeven price of any feedstuff. The feed list covers applications for dairy and beef cows, poultry and swine.

A Windows-based program, SESAME is user-friendly to individuals with little knowledge of economics and statistics. The software calculates the unit cost of nutrients according to the known market prices of all feedstuffs being considered at any given time.

“Feedstuffs are worth their content of nutrients,” says St-Pierre. “We aren’t calculating the prices of feeds, but the prices of the nutrients and how much we need to spend to provide those nutrients.”

The newest release of SESAME, 3.01, is available at www.sesamesoft.com at a price of $99.95. There’s a version for users in the United States, Canada and Mexico and another version for international users. (All are available in English and Spanish.)

For more information about SESAME, go to the software’s Web site or contact St-Pierre at (614) 292-6507, e-mail st-pierre.8@osu.edu