Print Version: Beef Cattle Research Council - Decision Making Tools

Retrieved: January 22, 2021 - 05:57 AM

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

Tools Created by the Beef Cattle Research Council

Carrying Capacity Calculator

The Carrying Capacity Calculator allows producers to determine the carrying capacity of pastures based on two methods: 1) estimates based on provincial guides and 2) field-based sampling.

Click to use the calculator.

Cow-Calf Production Indicators Calculator

Producers can use the the Cow-Calf Production Indicators Calculator to enter their own production numbers (only 15 numbers are needed) and compare them with an Industry Target and Regional Benchmark from the most recent regional cow-calf surveys.

Winter Feed Cost Comparison Calculator

Producers can use the Winter Feeding Rations and Estimated Costs decision making tool to calculate and compare the costs of main feed ingredients in different rations.

BRD Vaccination Cost Benefit Calculator

The Cost-Benefit of Feeding BRD-Vaccinated Calves tool allows producers to input the number of feeder calves purchased (or retained), price, feed weight, cost of gain, days on feed and expected fed cattle price to see the potential savings from sourcing feeder cattle that have been vaccinated for BRD.

BVD Vaccination Cost Benefit Calculator

The Cost Benefit of BVD Vaccinations tool allows producers to input their herd size, expected price, animal weights, cost of vaccine and labour to see the potential savings from vaccinating cattle for BVD.

Bull Valuation Calculator

Identifying a fair price during sire selection contributes to higher efficiency in operation economics. This calculator helps to estimate breakeven bull price based on different traits and the key parameters of your farm.

Click to use the calculator.

Value of Calving Distribution Calculator

Each time a cow is not bred during a 21-day heat cycle, it can cost up to 39 lbs of weaning weight (assuming an average daily gain on calves of 1.85 lbs/day). This calculator will allow producers to see what their current calving distribution is, and what the impact on your revenue would be if they move to the industry target of 60-25-10-5, or a condensed breeding season of three cycles.

Click to use the calculator.

Tool for Evaluating Feed Test Results

The following calculator was developed by the Alberta Beef, Forage and Grazing Centre. It allows producers to enter results from your feed tests to determine if that feed is of adequate nutritional value to be fed on its own.

Click to use the calculator.

Tool for Evaluating the Economic Value of Feeds Based on Nutrient Content

The following calculator was developed by the Alberta Beef, Forage and Grazing Centre. It helps producers to determine the value of feed that they may be considering purchasing compared to the value of standard feeds.

Click to use the calculator.

Economics of Water systems Calculator

The following calculator is based on  a study by Lardner et al. (2005) that reported calves whose dams drank from water troughs gained on average 0.09 lbs per day more than calves whose dams had direct access to the dugout. This calculator allows producers to:

• Compare the costs and benefits of installing 3 different watering systems on a cow-calf operation.
• Compare the costs and benefits of installing 5 different watering systems to use with yearling grassers.
• Determine how long it will take you to pay off any of the above water systems on your operation.

Click to use the calculator.

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.

Value 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.

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.

Click to view the interactive tool.

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.
/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.
/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

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

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
Calculates the relative value of nitrogen, phosphorus as phosphate and sulphur based on the market price and nutrient content of reference fertilizers.
http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/details.cfm?p=76536

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.

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
This tool can be used to make five-year annual projections for a new or existing cow-calf operations.

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.

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
This tool can be used to make five-year annual projections for a new or existing backgrounder and/or finisher operation.
http://publications.gov.sk.ca/details.cfm?p=75801

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

Value of Calving Distribution
Beef Cattle Research Council
Excel file that calculates the value of moving to a 63 day calving period.  Click to download.[.xlsx file | 113kb]

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.
https://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/livestock/barleysilage.jsp

Beef Cow Overwinter Cost Calculator
Western Beef Development Centre
Calculates the overwinter costs for cows and bulls. Click to download [.xlsx file | 100kb]

Cattle Feeding Breakeven Calculator
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.

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.
https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/farm-management/financial-management/pubs/calculator-feedplan.xls

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

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
Use your own values to calculate costs of bale grazing on your operation.
http://publications.gov.sk.ca/details.cfm?p=75821

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
Determines the costs associated with grazing yearling cattle

Crop Residue Collection for Field Grazing Calculator
Estimates the costs of feeding livestock with crop residue.

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

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
Calculates the relative value of nitrogen, phosphorus as phosphate and sulphur based on the market price and nutrient content of reference fertilizers.
http://publications.gov.sk.ca/details.cfm?p=76536

Record Keeping

Animal Health Treatments
Verified Beef Production PlusTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheets for recording individual animal heath treatments.
Individual: http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/files/producer-resources/individ.pdf
Pen/Herd: http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/files/producer-resources/group.pdf

Birth Record
Verified Beef Production PlusTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheets for recording individual animal births.
http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/files/producer-resources/birth.pdf

Suspect Broken Needle Record
Verified Beef Production PlusTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording suspect broken needles.
http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/files/producer-resources/needle.pdf

Medicated Feed/Medicated Water Record
Verified Beef Production PlusTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording medicated feed or water.
http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/files/producer-resources/medic.pdf

Record of Herbicide or Pesticide Use on Pasture or Hay
Verified Beef Production PlusTM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording herbicide and pesticide use.
http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/files/producer-resources/pest.pdf

Record of Animals Sold, Purchased, Died
Verified Beef Production Plus TM Program
Pre-made PDF record sheet for recording purchases, sales and deaths.
http://verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca/producer-resources/sample-records.cfm