Comparing Feedstuffs Based Upon Protein and Energy Back »

Livestock Decision Aid:
Feed comparison calculators available!

SDSU Extension recently updated the feed cost comparison calculator, which is one of the three calculators offered as part of its Livestock Decision Aid, which can be used on mobile and desktop devices. It is suggested to have a basic feedstuff analysis available when using the tool and to know the dry matter content of the feedstuff for an accurate comparison. However, if you prefer to do the calculations by hand, please refer to the formula and examples below.


 

Comparing Feeds:
Pricing feed 'protein' & 'energy' sources by hand

When producers decide to purchase feedstuffs to balance diets, the first question often asked is, “Do I need a source of energy or protein or both to economically balance the ration?” Next is evaluating what is on-hand for feedstuffs compared to what might need to be purchased. The final question then is “What might be the most economical feedstuff, if feed is to be purchased?”

Producers often classify feedstuffs into categories such as forages, grains, supplements, and minerals/vitamins. From these major categories we can decide what is needed to balance the diet. Is it protein, energy, or minerals/vitamins? In order to compare apples to apples you will need to look at the amount of each nutrient available on a dry matter basis so that an accurate cost comparison can be made for the desired nutrient. The following formulas allow you make this comparison when evaluating protein and energy in feedstuffs and their cost to the diet.


Pricing Feed Protein Sources
 

Step 1. Calculate 'Cost Per Unit of Dry Matter'.
 
Cost of feed 
($/ton, as fed, delivered)

 ÷  

Percent dry matter in feed
(as decimal) 

  =  

Cost per unit of dry matter ($/ton)

 

Step 2. Calculate 'Cost per unit of protein, dry matter (DM) basis ($/ton)'.
 
Cost per unit of dry matter ($/ton)*
 *Value from Step 1

 ÷  

Percent protein in feed
(as decimal)

  =  

Cost per unit of protein,
dry matter (DM) basis ($/ton)

 

Example Problem:
Comparing 'Premium Alfalfa' vs. 'Premium Grass Hay' for protein needs in diet.


Feedstuff 1: Premium Alfalfa
($150/ton, 150 RFV +, 21% crude protein) for Protein, 50 miles traveled at $4.00 per loaded mile.

  • Step 1:  $158 /ton delivered  ÷  0.89 dry matter  =  $177.53/ton dry matter
  • Step 2:  $177.53/ton dry matter ÷  0.21 protein $845.37/ton of protein dry matter
  • Cost Per Pound:  $845.37/ton  ÷  2000 lbs. /ton  =  $0.42/lb. of protein
     

Feedstuff 2: Premium Grass Hay
($140/ton, over 13% crude protein) for Protein, 50 miles traveled at $4.00 per loaded mile.

  • Step 1:  $148/ton delivered  ÷  0.89 dry matter  $166.29/ton dry matter
  • Step 2:  $166.29/ton dry matter  ÷  0.13 protein  =  $1279.17/ton of protein dry matter
  • Cost Per Pound:  $1279.17/ton  ÷  2000 lbs./ton  =  $0.64/lb. of protein
     

Comparison

Given the feedstuff comparisons at today’s prices, being reported by the USDA Hay Market as of the week of Friday, June 23rd, 2017 for the East River South Dakota Hay Report, if one looks for forage to be utilized for protein in the diet, Alfalfa (Feedstuff 1) is the more cost-effective forage based upon protein needs for the diet.


Pricing Feed Energy Sources
 

Step 1. Calculate 'Cost Per Unit of Dry Matter'.
 
Cost of feed 
($/ton, as fed, delivered)

 ÷  

Percent dry matter in feed
(as decimal) 

  =  

Cost per unit of dry matter ($/ton)

 

Step 2. Calculate 'Cost per unit of energy, dry matter (DM) basis ($/ton)'.
 
Cost per unit of dry matter ($/ton)*
 *Value from Step 1

 ÷  

Percent TDN**
(as decimal)

  =  

Cost per unit of energy,
dry matter (DM) basis ($/ton)

**Could also base calculation on NE m or NE g or NE l.

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