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Resources to Explore Options When Feed is Short

BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension offers resources to help producers find and evaluate feedstuffs to help meet their livestock’s needs.

“Winter 2018-2019 has certainly dealt livestock producers in the Northern Plains more than a couple curve balls,” said Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension Beef Feedlot Management Associate. “While the rapidly melting snow is a welcome sight, green grass and new feed supplies are still on the horizon, and some may be running short on feed or bedding.”

Rusche outlines some helpful tools below.

Feed Cost Calculator

What it is:

This decision tool allows producers to evaluate the value of two feedstuffs based on the cost per pound of delivered nutrients on a dry matter basis.

What you need to know:

Users need to know the dry matter content of both feeds, the nutrient composition on a dry matter basis (either from lab analysis or book values), and an estimate of shipping costs.

Users should keep in mind that the tool only compares one nutrient at a time.

Many diet formulation software packages will determine a break-even feed cost by simultaneously valuing the energy and protein components of a feedstuff. Rusche said this is a more accurate approach, but for simple feed comparison questions such as, “what is the cheapest source of supplemental protein,” this tool will quickly provide at least a starting point to evaluate feed buying decisions.

Where to find it:

The calculator can be found online.

SDSU Extension Feed & Forage Finder

What it is:

To help producers find available feedstuffs, when supplies are limited, SDSU Extension launched a Facebook-based resource several years ago.

SDSU Extension Feed & Forage Finder exists as a Facebook group where members can list either feed resources or services for sale or post what items they are seeking to buy.

What you need to know:

Just as when replying to an advertisement in a traditional format, such as a classified ad, buyers and sellers alike should perform their own due diligence to make certain that both parties live up to their commitments.

Where to find it:

The service is free and can be found at Facebook by typing “SDSU Extension Feed & Forage Finder” in the search box.

Livestock Nutrition Expertise

Identifying and pricing additional feedstuffs may not go far enough, in some instances. Ingredients need to be combined into a diet that meets the livestock’s nutritional requirements.

SDSU Extension State and Field Specialists are available to help address those needs and design feeding programs to solve the unique problems arising this spring.

A complete list of specialists can be found at the Our Experts page.