Better Ranching Through Technology

Download PDF

New Livestock Intake Calculator for Supplements (LICS) App now available for your Smart Phone

The saying goes that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. This is especially true when it comes to feed. Given that feed costs account for over 80% of the cost of raising livestock, managing feed supplements is of utmost importance in maintaining productivity and profitability. In this regard Ridley Block Operations has developed technology to help you better manage your supplements.

Why is it important to monitor consumption? The goal of a supplement product is to fill nutritional gaps in the diet. Supplement products are formulated to deliver an advertised nutritional package at a stated intake rate. If livestock aren’t eating recommended levels, then they aren’t receiving the advertised benefits of the product. This is especially true of medicated items that must deliver a specific amount of drug for a desired effect. On the flip side, if livestock are consuming too much of a product, it may indicate a larger issue of a greater-than-expected deficiency in the total diet. In this case, retesting and reformulation may be in order to maintain productivity.

Regardless of the nutritional reasons mentioned above, monitoring consumption allows one to get a handle on actual production costs. With this information, you can calculate your cost per head per day and can ultimately calculate your breakeven costs and what it costs you produce each pound of calf, kid or lamb. Not only is this information useful at tax time, but it will also help you make informed decisions regarding your management.

Ridley Block Operations has developed a new free app for both Apple and Android smart phones called Livestock Intake Calculator for Supplements (LICS). This convenient tool allows you to enter your information and it will not only calculate the daily intake of supplement, but will calculate cost per head per day as well as give you an estimated date for replacement of supplements.

The first step is to download this app from your app store. The app will appear as a LICS icon on your phone.

The application is self-explanatory and very easy to use. You have 2 choices. The Cow-Calf Calculator that calculates for mature cows and makes adjustments for calf intake as well, or the Express Calculator that simply calculates intake per head per day without adjustments for bodyweight or calves. The Express Calculator can be used for any specie of livestock or any size.

The Cow-Calf Calculator walks you through by asking the number of mature cows, bulls and calves and average weights of mature cows and calves.

Next it will ask you the time period that supplement was offered to these cattle. You can then enter the amount of supplement as total pounds of supplement offered, or you can evaluate each individual unit of supplement (tub, block, barrel, etc.). Simply enter the number of containers, the size (in pounds) of each when new and the percent of supplement still remaining in each.

From this information, the app will calculate average intake per cow/calf pair per day. If you go a step farther and enter in the cost of your supplement on a per ton basis it will give you a cost per cow/calf pair per day. To convert a per unit price to a per ton price, divide 2000 lbs. by the unit size (200 lbs. in this example, so 2000 lbs./ 200 lbs. = 10 units per ton). Next multiply the number of units per ton by the per unit price ($60/tub X 10 tubs/ton = $600/ton).

Given the information provided, the app will even give you a date when you will need to replace the supplements. Regardless of if you choose to use smart phone apps or just plain old pencil and paper, monitoring consumption and keeping track of cost per head per day are critical parts of nutritional management and profitability. This information is vital for making informed decisions regarding current and future supplement use.

There are a lot of different supplement options out in the marketplace. We know that we have to deliver on both quality and value to keep your business. Give us a call at 800-835-0306 learn more about the many different supplement forms and fortification levels STOCKADE® has to offer to help you be successful.

 

Jackie Nix is an animal nutritionist with Ridley Block Operations, the manufacturers of STOCKADE® Brand products. You can contact her at jackie.nix@ridleyinc.com.