Decision Making Tools

In addition to the information provided on the BCRC Blog and under the Research tab of this website, the following tools can help you make specific production decisions that suite your operation.

Tools Created by the Beef Cattle Research Council

Economics of Pregnancy Testing Beef Cattle

The following calculator is based on the economics of preg-checking model which was developed by Ben-Ezra and Muzzin in 2015. It can help cow-calf producers determine which of the following three options is most economical for their operation:

  • Preg-check and cull non-pregnant cows in the fall.
  • Preg-check in the fall and feed non-pregnant cows separately to market at a later date.
  • Do not preg-check - overwinter all cows and cull opens in the spring after calving.

A basic and advanced version are available. Both versions have the option to enter parameters for feeding cull cows as a separate group.
Click to view the interactive tool.

Preconditioning calculatorValue of Preconditioning Calves

Evaluates the economic opportunity from preconditioning by providing a summary of estimated net returns and projected breakeven price premiums of three different precondition programs.
Click to open the online calculator.

Learn more: http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/value-of-preconditioning-calves/

Impact of Body Condition on Cow Productivity and Profitability

Demonstrates productivity of cows at various body condition scores, such as pregnancy rate, % showing estrus 30 days after calving, and calf weaning weight. Also estimates the value of calf crops for cows maintained at each body condition score.body condition cattle calculator
Click to view the interactive tool.

Cost of Natural Breeding

The true costs of natural service are often underestimated. Buying bulls rather than semen packages is less economical in some cases, even with commercial cattle. This calculator can help you decide if you should buy a particular bull or just his semen packages (or straws from a comparable sire).
Click to download.
[.xlsx file | 13kb]
Learn more: http://www.beefresearch.ca/research-topic.cfm/artificial-insemination-17

More Decision Making Tools For Producers

Topics: 

Animal Health and Welfare

Body Condition

Impact of Body Condition on Cow Productivity and Profitability
Beef Cattle Research Council
Demonstrates productivity of cows at various body condition scores, such as pregnancy rate, % showing estrus 30 days after calving, and calf weaning weight. Also estimates the value of calf crops for cows maintained at each body condition score.
http://www.beefresearch.ca/research/body-condition-scoring.cfm#tool

Nutrition

SUPPCOST
AgManager.info
Evaluates the total cost of various protein supplement programs for cow/calf and feeders.
http://www.agmanager.info/Tools/default.asp

Reproductive Failure

Trich CONSULT
Kansas State University
Designed to allow veterinarians to help clients assess their risk and make informed decisions for preventing the disease or ridding their infected herds of Trichomoniasis.
http://www.trichconsult.org/

Preconditioning

Value of Preconditioning
Beef Cattle Research Council
Evaluates the economic opportunity from preconditioning by providing a summary of estimated net returns and projected breakeven price premiums of three different precondition programs.
http://www.beefresearch.ca/research/preconditioning.cfm

Pasture and Environment Management

Establishment

Forage Seed Mixture Calculator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Calculates a seed mix and estimates a seed density for drills or broadcast seeding for groupings of plant species.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/forageseed/forageseedintro.jsp

Grazing

Grasslands Beneficial Management Practices
Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) North American
An interactive description of beneficial grassland management practices, divided into applicable regions of North America
http://www.nagrasslands.org/

Weed Control

Noxious Weed Control
Montana State University Extension
Economic analysis of long-term weed control.  Uses a capital investment analysis to determine the economic feasibility of controlling noxious weeds
http://www.montana.edu/softwaredownloads/livestockdownloads.html

Manure and Nutrient Management

Ammonia Emissions Estimator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Calculates  ammonia losses from manure to improve nutrient management and test the value of ammonia reduction techniques.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/ammoniaEstimator

Ammonia Losses from Liquid Manure Applications Calculator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Estimates manure losses from liquid manure applications. It is designed to assist producers with the implementation of management practices that promote environmental and economic sustainability.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/ammoniafieldlosses

Manure Value Calculator and Breakeven Hauling Spreadsheet
University of Vermont
Calculates fertilizer nutrient value and how far you can afford to haul manure. 
http://www.uvm.edu/pss/vtcrops/?Page=nutrientmanure.html

Nutrient Loading Calculator (NLC)
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Estimates additions of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur on the landscape, from in-field or extensive livestock winter-feeding systems. It is designed to help land managers plan detailed feed and cow management strategies to achieve an acceptable or target animal unit density per acre based on appropriate nutrient additions in the field.
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/softdown.nsf/main?openform&type=NLC&page=information

Forage and Crop Nutrient Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Calculates the relative value of nitrogen, phosphorus as phosphate and sulphur based on the market price and nutrient content of reference fertilizers.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=6c3ff05a-6354-4f67-9802-b817e518607d

Record of Herbicide or Pesticide Use on Pasture or Hay
Verified Beef Production TM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording herbicide and pesticide use.
http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample05.pdf

Economic Analysis

Overall Operation

Beef Breed Investment Calculator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Calculates the value of an investment on beef cattle operations.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/beef/beefcalculator.jsp

Cow-Calf

Cost of Production Excel Tool
Western Beef Development Center
Calculates cost of production on your own operation.
http://www.wbdc.sk.ca/economics_current.htm

CowCalfPLAN
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
This tool can be used to make five-year annual projections for a new or existing cow-calf operations.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=2bfe08a1-c17f-4015-b77d-4dc4c6046ada 

Rancher's Risk and Return
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Calculates costs and expected financial returns for individual cattle enterprises including cow-calf, finishing, backgrounding or backgrounding with grazing.
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/softdown.nsf/main?openform&type=RanchersRiskandReturn&page=information

Cow Calf Feeder Stocker Budgeting
Montana State University Extension
Estimates enterprise budgets for cow-calf operations, backgrounding/feeding for various lengths of time and running stockers on pasture.
http://www.montana.edu/softwaredownloads/livestockdownloads.html

KSU-Beef Replacements
AgManager.info
Evaluates the economic value of purchasing replacement females
http://www.agmanager.info/Tools/default.asp

Feedlot

Feedlot Investment Risk Simulation Tool - FIR$T version 2.11
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Analyzes cattle feeding investments using computer simulation techniques to add risk assessment capabilities to traditional break-even and cost of gain calculations.
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/softdown.nsf/main?openform&type=FIR$T&page=information

FeedlotPLAN
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
This tool can be used to make five-year annual projections for a new or existing backgrounder and/or finisher operation.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=0c49f32d-8d77-4a7e-b5b5-543f9acb77cc

Reproduction

KSU-Bull vs AI Breeding Costs
AgManager.info
Evaluate the economic costs and benefits of breeding using natural service vs. AI
http://www.agmanager.info/Tools/default.asp

AI Cowculator
North Florida Research and Education Center
Android and iPhone/iPad app which allows producers to incorporate their own costs and determine the value of estrous synchronization in their own operations.
http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/programs/AICowculator.shtml

Cost of Natural Breeding
Beef Cattle Research Council
Excel file that calculates the cost of a bull per naturally sired calf. To help with decisions on natural service vs. AI
http://www.beefresearch.ca/research-topic.cfm/artificial-insemination-17

Manure

Manure Value Calculator and Breakeven Hauling Spreadsheet
University of Vermont
Calculates fertilizer nutrient value and how far you can afford to haul manure. 
http://www.uvm.edu/pss/vtcrops/?Page=nutrientmanure.html

Drylot Winter Feeding Costs

Barley Silage Calculator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Calculates the value of a barley crop as standing greenfeed and provides a value for the silage.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/livestock/barleysilage.jsp

Cattle Feeding Breakeven Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Allows producers to input numbers to calculate feed costs, yardage, and other input costs to determine what price calves need to be bought at to break even feeding them.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=f04bbcbe-fb65-4df9-935f-88c9a3b7766e

Creep Feeding Calculator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Calculates whether creep feeding will be economical.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/livestock/creepsheet.jsp

FeedPlan
Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development
Allows producers to calculate the cost of livestock feed inputs for feed energy and crude protein based on feed test analysis for a variety of commonly used feed ingredients.
http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/online-resources/decision-making-tools.html

SUPPCOST
AgManager.info
Evaluates the total cost of various protein supplement programs for cow/calf and feeders.
http://www.agmanager.info/Tools/default.asp

Feed Systems Cost Evaluator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Compares the costs, on a dry matter basis, of: pit silage, bagged silage, bale silage, and dry hay and calculates the costs from a standing crop to animal-ready product in the yard, factoring in standing crop value, equipment costs as well as field and storage losses.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/livestock/feedingsystem.jsp

Feed Value Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Calculates and compares costs of feeds and nutrients using local market prices.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Feed_Value_Calculator

KSU-SilageValue
AgManager.info
Calculates the estimated value of corn or grain sorghum silage based on the price of grain, harvesting costs, and nutrients removed.
http://www.agmanager.info/Tools/default.asp

Extended Grazing Winter Feeding Costs

Bale Grazing Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Use your own values to calculate costs of bale grazing on your operation.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=56c8e6df-754e-4897-9000-638fea280172

Summer/Fall Grazing Costs

Swath Grazing Calculator
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Provides a cost comparison between conventional wintering feeding systems and swath grazing.
http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/swathgrazing/production_info.jsp

Costs and Returns for Grassing Yearling Cattle Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Determines the costs associated with grazing yearling cattle
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=57ad1aa0-8bb1-448f-a595-5a4ed37f38f0

Crop Residue Collection for Field Grazing Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Estimates the costs of feeding livestock with crop residue.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=4bf8b81c-4a3c-4c15-9260-0e1f01d4af1f

GRASSFAT
Montana State University Extension
Calculates the profitability of putting steers or heifers on summer pasture. Also calculates the break-even prices necessary to cover all production costs and the break-even purchase price with a given sales price
http://www.montana.edu/softwaredownloads/livestockdownloads.html

Nutrient Management Costs

Manure Value Calculator and Breakeven Hauling Spreadsheet
University of Vermont
Calculates fertilizer nutrient value and how far you can afford to haul manure. 
http://www.uvm.edu/pss/vtcrops/?Page=nutrientmanure.html

Forage and Crop Nutrient Calculator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Calculates the relative value of nitrogen, phosphorus as phosphate and sulphur based on the market price and nutrient content of reference fertilizers.
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=6c3ff05a-6354-4f67-9802-b817e518607d

Record Keeping

CowBoss
Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development
Pre-made excel spreadsheets for easy recording of production data.
http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/business-and-economics/financial-management/farm-software-and-worksheets.html#cowboss

Animal Health Treatments
Verified Beef ProductionTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheets for recording individual animal heath treatments.
Individual: http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample01.pdf
Pen/Herd: http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample02.pdf

Suspect Broken Needle Record
Verified Beef ProductionTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording suspect broken needles.
http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample03.pdf

Medicated Feed/Medicated Water Record
Verified Beef ProductionTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording medicated feed or water.
http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample04.pdf

Record of Herbicide or Pesticide Use on Pasture or Hay
Verified Beef Production TM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording herbicide and pesticide use.
http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample05.pdf

Record of Animals Sold, Purchased, Died
Verified Beef Production TM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording purchases, sales and deaths.
http://www.verifiedbeef.org/downloads/sample06.pdf


 

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