The
figures listed below are based on a per acre basis and the summary
totals are based on a 100 cow herd. We relied upon University
of Illinois data and research to develop realistic production cost
estimates. The estimates are produced under the assumption
that you own the hay equipment and do not utilize custom operators.
The scenario we used allows for an alfalfa stand that has a life
of 3 years with 3 cuttings per year. Tillage and seeding costs
are therefore based on 1 year's allocation of cost for the 3 year
total cost. You would probably leave the alfalfa stand for
more than 3 years, but it's no secret that a diminishing stand over
time will result in less production and thus additional cost.
Feeding round bales also results in a substantial amount of waste
through spoilage and uneaten feed. We used the U of I estimates
that round bales result in 40% wasted feed.
Furthermore, we allowed for a 20% cushion in extra
feed to allow for variables such as cows' condition, weather, etc.
Typical yearly consumption coupled with these percentage factors
helped us in developing the total amount of tons in round bales
needed to adequately feed a 100 cow herd in a given year.
Production
Inputs
Variable 
Price
Per Acre 
Cash Rent 
$140.00 
Disk/Drill (1 year's
allocation 
$6.00 
Seed (1 year's allocation
@ 20 lbs./ac. 
$25.00 
Fertilizer 
$20.00 
Pesticide 
$12.00 
Sprayer Application 
$4.00 
Input Total 
$207.00 
Processing
Costs
Variable

Price Per
Acre 
Mow 
$10.25 x 3 = $30.75 
Rake 
$7.00 x 3 = $21.00 
Bale 
$14.25 x 3 = $42.75 
Processing
Total 
$94.50 (Based
on 3 cuttings) 
Total
Production and Processing Costs Per Acre = $301.50
We
figured an average of 5 tons of hay produced on 1 acre of alfalfa
in a typical year. The production and processing total listed
above therefore equates to a total cost of $60.30 per ton.
We based the feed supply on each cow consuming round bales for 150
days at approximately 25 pounds per day. This translates to
1.88 tons of hay per cow to feed for a year. The figures listed
below are based on 3.02 tons per cow. This cushion allows
for 40% average waste as well as some variance
in cows' condition, weather, etc. on a yearly basis.
Feed
Supply Analysis
100 cows
x 1.88 tons = 188 tons
188 tons
x 40% waste = 76 tons
188 tons
x 20% cushion = 38 tons
Total
Supply Needed = 302 tons
We
showed earlier that the production and processing total cost
per ton was $60.30 based on 5 tons per acre with 3 cuttings per
year. The total cost for this feed program is as follows:
302
tons x $60.30 = $18,210.60
This
program would cost $182.11 per cow on a yearly basis.
The
feed supply for 100 cows through this program could be produced
on 60 acres.
