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Source: South Dakota State Univ. news release

Even before the drought, livestock producers daily faced the difficult decision of figuring out which feed source was the best buy when it comes to providing protein and energy sources to their livestock.

This dilemma is even greater as feedstuff prices continue to increase due to the current drought, says Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension Beef Cow/Calf Field Specialist.

To aid livestock producers in this chore, Rusche and Tracey Renelt, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist together developed a Feedstuff Cost Comparison Spreadsheet.

The Excel spreadsheet is available for online use on under the Drought Community or any of the Livestock Communities.

"This tool lets producers compare two feedstuffs on an equal basis," Renelt said. "In essence it allows producers to compare apples to apples via protein and energy, while taking trucking and purchase price into consideration."

In order to utilize the spreadsheet, producers will need basic input information for each feed source such as percent dry matter, crude protein and energy content on a dry matter basis, feed cost per pound or ton, and trucking cost. In return, livestock producers will be able to compare feedstuff A to feedstuff B on a dry matter basis and be able to determine which feedstuff is a better buy, if they are looking for a protein or energy source.

"The feed market is exceptionally volatile this year. We hope that this tool will be useful to producers as they evaluate their feed options during this drought," Rusche said.

For more information, please contact either Rusche or Renelt at the Watertown Extension Regional Center at 605-882-5140 or email at or

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