Many dairy producers want to cut back on feed cost these days.

"But there is a limit to how much feed cost can be reduced without having a negative effect on animal performance," warns Virginia Ishler, nutrient management specialist with Penn State Dairy Alliance and manager of the Penn State Dairy Research Complex.

The new Income Over Feed Cost tool from Penn State University can help with some of these decisions — and perhaps avoid the knee-jerk reactions that come when a particular feed commodity goes up in price. In a recent Webinar series, Ishler encouraged producers to talk to their nutritionists about this.

"I think a lot of nutritionists would appreciate producers saying, 'This is my income over feed cost, this is what I need to make money on the farm. What can we do to tweak our rations to meet this objective?'" she said.

The program helps producers set up calculations based on the cost of purchased feed ingredients, the market value of home-raised feed ingredients, daily batch weights, feed intakes, daily milk sold, and milk price. It also includes benchmarks so farms can compare their performance to industry averages. And, there are links to the various Webinars as well.