DairyCents Mobile App
The DairyCents mobile app offers a quick calculation of income over feed costs and price comparison of various forages, grains and commodities to the Penn State Feed Price List and other users of the data base.
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Income over Feed Cost
This feature of the app illustrates what is happening with the markets and how it is affecting IOFC.
Income over feed cost per cow or per cwt is a tool to examine how well the lactating ration cost matches the production of the herd. Enter your zip code, select the milk production level, and date. The app will calculate IOFC. The display will show feed cost/cwt, feed cost/cow, gross milk price, milk margin/cwt milk and IOFC/cow/day. If you select historic data, enter you zip code, milk production and units (/cow or /cwt). It will graph IOFC, feed cost and milk price starting from January 2012.
How IOFC is calculated
Penn State has been tracking income over feed cost for the University herd since 2004. This is taking the actual feed ingredients fed to the cows, using the monthly PSU feed price list for the market prices of home raised feeds along with the purchased prices of commodities to calculate the feed cost per cow. Using the actual milk price to calculate milk income minus the feed cost equals the IOFC/cow/day. The question arose if using readily available market information to simplify the calculation would result in a number that was realistic to the more in-depth calculation.
Starting with market data from 2001, monthly prices for alfalfa hay, milk, corn and 48% soybean meal were used to determine feed cost per cow per day on diets developed by Virginia Ishler for cows averaging 65, 75, and 85 pounds of production. The information was graphed over the multiple years and compared to the Penn State dairy’s IOFC. The results showed that trends and interpretations were identical using the simplified version compared to the more in-depth calculation. This feature of the app illustrates what is happening with the markets and how it is affecting IOFC, and would show similar trends to what a more detailed calculation would show. However, this approach should not replace a farm’s own IOFC as ultimately that is the best measure if feed costs are in line with the herd’s performance.
There are 19 states that report an alfalfa hay price AND an all milk price. For this app, accurate IOFC can be obtained for Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. These prices are obtained from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Corn and soybean meal prices are obtained from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
It should be noted that the milk and hay price are always one month behind versus the corn and soybean meal prices are always current. For this reason IOFC should not be calculated for the current month because the hay and milk price will be from the previous month.
This section of the app allows the user to track over time how prices of select ingredients are trending.
The feed price section allows the user to compare their purchased feed price to the Penn State Feed Price List and to other users in the database who have purchased the same feed. Enter your zip code, feed selection, unit, price per unit, number of units purchased and date. Click submit pricing. If you select “All Feed Data”, select the particular feed you are interested in and graph results for your data, average for Pennsylvania and/or other user’s data.
This section of the app allows the user to track over time how prices of select ingredients are trending. Each month the database will be populated with prices from the Penn State Feed Price List. As more users populate the database with their prices, eventually the user can compare their price paid to not only Pennsylvania but to other users across the country.
Registering the application
Before using the free mobile app DairyCents, you first need to register a username. You can either register directly from the app, or register online.
An email confirmation will be sent to you immediately.
Why do I need to register?
- By creating a secure login username and password, the information you enter into DairyCents will be protected if anyone tries to view it on your device.
- If you have multiple devices, you can access your data from any device.
- You can create multiple usernames on one device for more than one person to use.
- You will be notified of important updates
Mobile app developer
Contact for technical issues using DairyCents
Contact for questions about how to use the mobile app
Penn State Extension Dairy Team
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- Nutrient Management Specialist
- Dairy Extension Program Manager