Using a Dairy Cow Feed Cost Calculator

Using a dairy cow feed cost calculator is a useful tool for determining how much milk you can sell each month. This tool will calculate the cost of all the feed your cows consume, including forage, yeast supplementation, shrinkage, and feed refusals. You can also enter costs for each individual cow in your herd, such as the cost of milk production per cow per day. In addition, the calculator will calculate the costs for shrinkage, feed refusals, and forage storage, among other factors.

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Forage cost per cow per day

While the market price of forages varies, it is generally less than the actual price paid by farmers. Feed cost is an important factor when calculating the profitability of a dairy operation, as it represents about 75% of a cow’s annual cost. During the winter months, a mature 1500-pound cow will consume 38 pounds of hay per day, with hay selling for $50 per ton.

Generally, beef cows need nine pounds of hay per day, but if forages are expensive or in short supply, it may be more economical to feed grain. However, you need to keep in mind that grain is more expensive per pound than hay, so you have to feed only a small portion to substitute for hay. Another problem with feeding limited grain when there is no forage is that the cows will compete with each other for the forage that remains available. Ohio University recommends limiting grain feeding to about a 1,300-pound beef cow.

Storage cost per unit

The Feed Price List of June 2000 is a representative price list of feed costs for northeastern U.S. dairy farms. The price of DM (dry matter) per kilogram of milk is from the Federal Order One Milk Marketing Administrator’s Office. Pasture costs are averaged from Elbehri and Ford (1995) and Moore (1998) and are based on DM intake per cow. The cost per unit of milk is calculated as $4.50/cwt.

Conventional hay needs to be harvested every 23-24 days and has fallen by the wayside. In contrast, lactating cows require about 34-35 pounds of milk per day, which pays the entire feed bill. If the cow is dry or pregnant, it may take two to three months before it dries off and produces no milk. During this time, the storage cost per unit of dairy cow feed is about 25 cents/cow.

Yeast supplementation

A dairy cow diet that contains yeast contains a variety of important fermentation metabolites, as well as various types of enzymes and minerals. These nutrients are beneficial to both the health and production of the animal. This cost-effective supplement is a good choice for most dairy farms, and it is gaining popularity among feed producers. Listed below are the benefits of yeast supplementation in dairy cow feed. Read on to learn more about how yeast supplements are beneficial to dairy cows.

Studies have shown that dairy cows fed YC had increased ruminal pH and total VFA (mM), as well as a reduced amount of acetate in their rumens. Furthermore, the supplementation of yeast improved the growth and number of specific fiber-digesting bacteria. While milk production was increased with yeast supplementation, amylolytic bacteria decreased. In addition, the rumen pH was neutral and the total VFA increased.

Feed refusals

Managing feed refusals on dairy cows is a balancing act. The goal is to ensure that cows get all the feed they need and not overfeed them. The goal is to reduce the feed costs while maintaining the highest quality for the herd. However, the amount of feed that the cows are offered will ultimately determine the feed quantity that is given. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the dairy farmer to decide what the ideal amount of feed should be for each individual cow.

The impact of feed refusals on milk yield is significant. Cows who do not consume their entire meal will not be able to maintain their desired body weight, which will ultimately lower milk production. Moreover, feed refusals can lead to ruminal acidosis and compromise dry matter intake. To minimize these negative effects, feed refusals should be limited to three to four percent daily. In addition, feeding for feed refusals can help reduce the negative impact of TMR sorting and ruminal acidosis.


For a profitable dairy operation, reducing feed shrinkage is an important strategy. Shrinkage is the difference between the amount of feed delivered to the feed fence and the amount consumed by the animals. If it is controlled, 4% to 5% shrink can be achieved. Depending on the milk yield and other factors, 4% to 5% shrink can substantially improve the profitability of your feeding program. Here are some tips to reduce feed shrinkage:

The loss of feed weight due to shrink is a large part of the dairy cow feed cost. It can result from various factors, including harvesting, transportation, storage, and handling. Weather conditions also affect feed weight. In addition, animals can contribute to feed loss. In case of silages, losses may occur during fermentation and seepage. For these reasons, it is crucial to include shrinkage in your dairy cow feed cost calculator.