Comparing the Costs of Feeds

The cheapest food in cents/MJ of energy and the feed that provides the adequate protein for the class of animal being fed is the basic way of calculating the most economical feed. The cost per MJ of energy can be calculated from a feed analysis or from a table of feed composition.   Fact Sheet

Dry Matter vs As Fed

We nearly always pay for feeds based on an ‘as fed’ basis which includes the moisture. Moisture content varies considerably between feeds contributing to the as fed weight therefore it is important when comparing or purchasing feeds to convert values to a Dry Matter (DM) basis which is the feed remaining once the moisture has been taken out. However in some cases you may need to convert the values to an as fed basis.   Fact Sheet

Calculating Dry Matter Intakes for Various Classes of Stock

The amount of DM an animal will eat will depend on its body weight, quality of the feed and class of stock. It is important to calculate the average daily intake to ensure that you are feeding the correct amount by weight or that the animal is able to obtain enough nutrients from a certain feed determined by intake limits.   Fact Sheet

Basic Ration/Diet Formulation

Ration formulation is important to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the animals you are feeding.
Two important factors are protein and energy. It is important to remember when calculating feed rations that ruminants require minimum 10% roughage in the ration and if the risk of acidosis is high then 20% roughage should be considered.   Fact Sheet

Ration Formulation using the ‘Pearson Square’

The ‘Pearson Square’ is a tool that can be used to calculate the portion of two feeds needed to meet protein or energy requirements of an animal. For this tool to work, one of the feeds used must be higher in ME or CP than the desired level and the other feed must be below the desired level.   Fact Sheet

Calculating Supplementary Feed Amounts

Total daily requirements for various classes of cattle – Fact Sheet

Total daily requirements to maintain sheep – Fact Sheet

Drought Management Checklist for the Livestock Business

Drought can have a devastating impact on the livestock business. Making decisions in a drought is difficult and getting some perspective on the issue is important before you can implement effective decisions.   Fact Sheet

Feed Budgeting in a Drought

Creating a feed budget can be a difficult and daunting task for many producers. The following points are to help you understand the basic information you may need to create an accurate feed budget during a drought.   Fact Sheet

Livestock Management Options

Feed, Sell, Agistment

There is no standard strategy when it comes to managing livestock in a drought as no farm is the same and each drought is different. Farm enterprises, goals and financial positions change for a variety of reasons and therefore the course of action livestock producers will take changes and will often be a combination of strategies.   Fact Sheet


Fact Sheets provided courtesy of Primary Industries and Regions SA. This flyer is produced as part of the Government of South Australia’s Upper South East Drought Package.

(March 2016)