Profit Tip: Purchase Protein Supplements after Comparing Options on a Cost per Pound of Protein Basis
Protein supplements are designed to compensate for deficiencies in crude protein content of the base diet. The objective of a good supplementation program should be to supply the required amount of protein rather than a specific amount of supplement. Therefore when choosing among various supplements a good strategy is to calculate the cost of each supplement on a cost per pound of crude protein then purchase in the most economical way.
To calculate cost per pound of crude protein, simply divide the cost per ton of the supplement by the number of pounds of crude protein in a ton of the supplement. The result is the cost per pound of crude protein. When all supplement options are priced on a cost per pound of crude protein the most economical supplement can be identified.
There are other factors to consider when purchasing supplements. With today's fuel and equipment prices, purchasing a supplement with a greater concentration of crude protein may decrease delivery cost since fewer tons would be needed to supply the same amount of protein. Different supplements will have a different cost to deliver the feed to the cattle and also will result in different amounts of waste. For example, alfalfa hay does not cost the same amount to deliver to cattle and results in more waste than feeding cubes but may still be the more economical supplement.
Producers can easily account for cost differences in transportation, feeding and waste in addition to purchase price of various supplements by using the "Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator" found on the West Central Research and Extension Center website.
Neberaska Extension Educator
Panhandle Research and Extension Center