New Feed Calculator

Easy App Figures Cattle Rations by Class, Age, Growth Stage

A new rations calculator from Clemson University allows users to choose from 500 common feed ingredients. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo by Chris Clayton)

Whether you're retaining ownership, or just feeding out a few head for direct sales, a new ration calculator will make the job of developing a feeding plan easier.

Clemson University's College of Agriculture just released the Clemson Livestock Feed Ration Calculator to help producers figure nutrients in feed mixes, balancing the ration by class, age and stage of growth.

This is a web-based calculator, or an app, accessible anywhere internet is available, including smartphones and tablets. Scott Sell was lead developer for the program. He is a Clemson research associate of cattle and forages at the Edisto Research and Education Center (REC) in Blackville, South Carolina.

The right balanced ration is the amount of feed to supply proper nutrients to an animal at their unique stage of life, and for a specific purpose -- that being growth, maintenance, lactation or gestation. Along with stage of life, nutrients are also determined based on factors like weight, gender, environment and desired rate of growth.

The Clemson app allows selection of up to eight feedstuffs from a list of over 500 common ingredients. Custom ingredients may also be entered into the program. For each feed ingredient, default nutrient and energy compositions are loaded, but these may be adjusted. Users enter proportional mix weights, and other batch weights, and a breakdown of 10 essential nutrients is provided based on this.

Sell said, "I've worked in Extension for 30 years, and I've always looked for a tool to easily calculate feed rations. It has long been a dream of mine to create something like this for livestock producers to be able to easily use."

Kendall Kirk, a precision agriculture engineer at Edisto REC, built the web app from Sell's spreadsheets and ration materials. Kirk noted that development of the tool shows the value that can come out of collaboration between different areas of Extension and research.

More information on the app is available here:….