Feed cost is most often the largest variable expense in a cow/calf operation. The method of storing hay can greatly impact these costs by potentially increasing the amount of hay needed to meet the herd’s nutritional requirements. The method of storage can impact not only the quantity of hay available but also the quality. The reduction in quality due to storage method can in turn impact the herd’s performance and efficiency and ultimately your bottom line.
In addition to the losses incurred due to the method of storage, there are losses due to the feeding method utilized. The storage and feeding losses are cumulative and can greatly impact the amount of hay needed to be produced or purchased to meet the nutritional requirements of the herd.
The Hay Calculator is an Excel-based tool which can help a user evaluate the impact of improving their storage and feeding methods to reduce losses and costs.
In addition to understanding potential losses from storage and feeding methods, the impact the quality of the forage has on how much an animal can consume must also be understood. The Quality Analysis portion of this tool will help compare two hay/forage samples and provide measures that can help identify hay/forages best suited for varying classes of cattle.
Note Regarding Security Settings: The decision-aid file contains macros (examples: buttons for printing and moving from the intro page to the calculator) which are required for the calculator to function properly. Security settings for Microsoft Office or Excel may give you warnings when you open the file regarding the safety of enabling the macros. This will especially be true if your security settings are set to high or very high. The macros in the file must be enabled for the calculator to function properly.