A new tool developed by researchers at North Dakota State University can help livestock evaluate and compare the cost of various feedstuffs, including dried distillers grains.
The Combined Feed Value and Protein and Energy Calculator is an Excel-based energy and protein evaluation tool that can evaluate multiple feedstuffs on their cost per pound of protein and energy, as well as evaluate the value of one feed compared to other feedstuffs based on a protein and energy equivalent.
Chanda Engel, research specialist in animal science at the Carrington Research Extension Center of North Dakota State University, told DTN that the calculator can be used for any type of livestock and is easy to use.
Users have to know the units of whatever feedstuff they are considering buying (i.e. tons, pounds, etc.) as well as the price per unit on an as-fed basis. Users then enter the real dry matter value, protein and energy concentrations (on a dry matter basis). The program will then calculate the price per pound of crude protein and price per pound of energy on a dry matter basis.
The calculator can also be used to calculate the value of dried distillers grains and compare its value to other similar protein and energy sources, such as corn, soybean meal, field peas, canola meal, etc., Engel said.
Engel added that producers should not automatically rule out DDG just because of recent high prices, since it is not always solely the price, but the cost per unit of protein that is important as well. While some producers may have thought DDG was out of their price range, when they see the price per unit of protein, it often is a good value. Engel added that DDG is typically about 4 points higher in energy than soybean meal.
The Combined Feed Value and Protein and Energy Calculator is available on the NDSU website (http://bit.ly/…). Engel said the calculator will be updated periodically for prices, but for the most accurate evaluation users should enter their own pricing information.
Directions for using the tool can be found on the "Info" tab on the spreadsheet, but anyone with questions is welcome to call Engel at 701-652-2951.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.