Pricing Protein Supplement to Complement Abundant Forage

Pricing Protein Supplement to Complement Abundant Forage

August 2015

photo - large round hay bale in fieldWith the moisture in Nebraska this year, it looks like there will also be an abundance of forage for this fall and winter. Now is a good time to evaluate and price compare supplements to complement this forage.

Purchased and supplemental feed can be a significant portion of feed costs for the cow herd. When comparing possible feed options for purchase, compare feeds on a price per unit of total digestible nutrients, which is energy, and a price per unit of crude protein. To accurately compare feeds to each other, do so on a dry matter basis, all water being removed.

There are other things to consider when comparing possible feeds to one another. These include cost of delivery to the operation, storage and feeding expense, as well as loss and waste. Once all of these costs and losses have been calculated, feeds can be compared to one another on a cost per unit actually consumed. This gets to the true cost and allows for the most accurate comparison of feeds to one another.

The UNL Extension Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator is an Excel® spreadsheet that allows producers to accurately compare feeds to one another.

When the inputs have been entered into the spreadsheet it will calculate and compare feeds to one another based on several factors.

  • Purchase Cost of Nutrient
  • Delivered Cost of Nutrient
  • Fed Cost of Nutrient
  • Consumed Cost of Nutrient
  • Amount of Feed Needed for the Herd
  • Total Cost of Feed for the Feeding Period

Using the Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator is an efficient way to accurately compare feeds and purchase those that are most cost effective for your operation. To learn more, please view the webinar “Using the Feed Cost-Q-Lator.”

Aaron Berger, Extension Educator
Panhandle Research & Extension Center
University of Nebraska