DairyCents Mobile App

This mobile app calculates income over feed costs and compares prices of various feeds to the Penn State Feed Price List.
DairyCents Mobile App - Tools and Apps
Language: English


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.

Download DairyCents

DairyCents Features

Income over Feed Cost

This feature of the app illustrates what is happening with the markets and how it is affecting IOFC. DairyCentsPro allows producers and consultants to enter farm specific information. To learn more about how both of these methods work, visit the DairyCents Income Over Feed Cost section.

Feed Price Comparison

This section of the app allows the user to track over time how prices of select ingredients are trending. To learn more, visit the DairyCents Feed Price section.

Feed Management

The feed management component of the app monitors several feed management metrics: dry matter intake, dry matter intake efficiency, milk nitrogen efficiency and phosphorus intake and excretion. To learn more, visit the DairyCents Feed Management section.

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

App Support

Mobile app developer

Contact for technical issues using DairyCents

AHG, Inc.
Alex Heiphetz, Ph.D. CEO

Content developer

Contact for questions about how to use the mobile app

Virginia Ishler
Penn State Extension Dairy Team

Additional Information

To receive updates and news related to DairyCents follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Income over feed cost graph from the DairyCents app

DairyCents mobile apps have two methods of comparing income over feed cost: market values and farm specific. Details on both methods and more resources.

Income Over Feed Cost- Market Value

This feature of the app illustrates what is happening with the markets and how it is affecting IOFC. For farm specific IOFC, see the DairyCentsPro app.

Using the IOFC feature

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 Penn State 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.

Market information sources

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.


DairyCentsPro allows a dairy producer to enter their farm specific information to calculate IOFC. Feed cost/cow, IOFC/cow, milk margin/cwt and the percent of income going towards feed cost are calculated as well. The producer's IOFC can be graphed so trends can be viewed over time on how the herd is performing. Once a producer has entered in the herd's ration, the farm will have its own specific feeds library. When adjustments are made after the initial entries, the user can select the previous month's information, make edits, and calculate the IOFC for the current month.

The producer can share their IOFC results with their consultant by selecting permissions and entering in the consultant's email address if the nutritionist has the consultant version of DairyCentsPro.

Ideally the best way to use IOFC is having the farm's breakeven IOFC number. This requires additional information that can be captured from a cash flow plan. The Extension Dairy Team has developed an Excel spreadsheet that allows the user to determine this number. It also has a section that allows the user to determine the cost of home-raised feeds. This is a more accurate method for determining a true IOFC number for a farm versus having to use market prices for home-raised feeds.

Corn silage user and PA Market prices for 12 months in DairyCents mobile app.

The feed price section of DairyCents and DairyCentsPro 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.

Feed Price Comparison

This section of the app allows the user to track over time how prices of select ingredients are trending.

Using the feed price comparison feature

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.

DairyCents mobile app feed management graph.

The feed management section of DairyCentsPro allows users to track key on-farm metrics.

The feed management portion of DairyCentsPro calculates dry matter intake efficiency, phosphorus intake and excretion, and milk nitrogen efficiency. These simple calculations are not new to the dairy industry; however, DairyCentsPro packages them in a convenient app that can be monitored over time.

Dry Matter Intake Efficiency

Dry mater intake efficiency (DMIE), also referred to as feed efficiency (FE), is a simple calculation measuring the pounds of energy corrected milk (ECM) produced per pound of dry matter (DM) consumed. This simple, yet under-utilized, metric should be monitored on dairy farms to potentially improve production, profitability, and nutrient management (Maulfair, et al. 2011). Obtaining higher efficiencies is not only important during times of higher feed costs and tighter margins but farms with limited forage inventories and land base also need to be cognizant of home raised and purchased feed utilization as well as the amount of nutrients being excreted.

Phosphorus Intake and Excretion

The phosphorus (P) requirements of lactating cows at different stages of lactation and production levels are highly debated. The National Research Council (NRC) (2001) recommends ranges based on production level as shown on the app. Phosphorus excretion estimations are debated and questioned to an even greater extent. The excretion estimation is based on a standardized equation accepted as the best information available to date (Nennich, 2005). Phosphorus is recycled efficiently within the cow which adds another layer of complexity. The P intakes and excretion estimation should be used a baseline to monitor changes within a particular herd. If the P intake estimation varies greatly from the recommended range, further evaluation of the diet and feedstuffs should be conducted. Overfeeding P will have a negative impact on the environment overtime and could be costing the farm in unnecessary P supplementation.

Nitrogen Efficiency

Nitrogen (N) efficiency is a simple estimate based on DMI, ration crude protein, milk production and milk N. Increasing N efficiency can decrease the amount of N excreted from dairy cows and as a result decrease ammonia emissions. Purchased protein supplementation is also expensive and should be utilized as efficiently as possible for maximizing profitability. Protein or N utilization and ration balancing is complex and has to consider a number of things such as all the different protein and carbohydrate fractions. If N efficiency is not inline for a herd, further analysis of the forages and feed sources will provide additional insight.

Dairy producer consulting with a Penn State Extension agent.

Information about how to share DairyCents Pro data from the Producer version to the Consultant version. Consultants can also download their data into an excel file.

The idea behind sharing information from the producer to the consultant is that often the producer is making adjustments to their forage source, purchased feeds, rations, groups of animals, etc. that the consultant may not be aware of until they are on the farm again. When calculating IOFC or any number of metrics for a dairy, it is incredibly important to have the most accurate data not only for making sound decisions based on that information but also for credibility back to the dairy producer. Sharing this information through DairyCentsPro can increase effective communication between the many people working on or for a dairy.

For Dairy Producers: How to share with your consultants

Dairy producers can allow as many consultants as they wish to access their data from the DairyCents Pro app. At any time, producers can revoke access.

Step1. From the main page select "Manage Consultants/ Permissions"

OR "Consultants" from the Menu Bar at the bottom:

Step 2. Enter Consultant's email address and choose "allow". Click "Continue"

To revoke access at anytime, repeat steps and choose "Revoke" instead of "Allow"

If an error message appears, the email address is incorrect or your consultant is not a registered user of DairyCents Pro.

For Consultants: How to receive data from your producers

Step 1. From the main page select "DairyCentsPro Manage Your Farms"

OR "Your Farms" from the menu bar at the bottom of your screen:

Step 2. Choose "Add New Farm"

Step 3. Enter email address of your producer and click "Check"

If error message appears, the email address you entered is incorrect or the producer has not given you access.

Frequently Asked Questions:

"I have started a farm file in my app and the farmer wants to send their data. How do I merge farm data?"

Step 1. Open your farm list and select the farm you wish to merge. In this example, "Farm A" has been entered by the consultant on the consultant version.

Step 2. Enter the email address of the producer and click "Check"

Select "Save Changes"

"Can consultants find me through DairyCents Pro?"

No. You can not search for producers or consultants. If someone has your email address and they try to access your data, an error message will appear telling them that user does not exist or has not given permissions.

"How can I see all my farms at the same time?"

You can download your data from the consultant version to an excel file. Download these instructions for more information.


Dairy Herd Management Dairy Cattle Nutrition Dairy Feed Management Dairy Cattle Feed Management Dairy Business Management Dairy Cattle Business Management

More by Virginia A. Ishler 


Only registered users can write reviews. Please, log in or register

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the technical requirements for using apps?
What devices and browsers are supported for apps?
Who do I contact if I have a question about a specific app?