About

The Pasture Consumption Calculator provides the Australian dairy industry with a robust, scientifically sound method for back-calculating on-farm annual pasture removal (t DM/ha) and an estimation of annual feed conversion efficiency of the milking herd.

This calculator is based on generalised equations of ruminant requirements for metabolisable energy (ME, MJ/kg DM) for various physiological processes published in 'Nutrient Requirements of Domesticated Ruminants' (CSIRO, 2007), and differs from other approaches which do not fully account for metabolisable energy requirements. The equations used to estimate metabolisable energy requirements are described in:

Heard JW, Doyle PT, Francis SA, Staines MH, Wales WJ (2011) Calculating dry matter consumption of dairy herds in Australia: the need to fully account for energy requirements and issues with estimating energy supply. Animal Production Science, 51, 605-614.

This digital product is delivered through partnership between Dairy Australia and the State of Victoria Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

Why is the Pasture Consumption Calculator useful?

The primary purpose of estimating home grown feed consumption on the farm or milking area is to benchmark performance of the farm over time, and it is particularly important as cow genetics and/or the feeding systems on individual farms are continually changing.

Understanding pasture consumption on farm helps determine how much fodder is grown and harvested from the farm milking area. It also helps to measure the requirement for brought in feed. This is particularly valuable when considering budgets and requirements for brought in feeds (grains, pellets, hay or silage).

Differences between the calculators?

'Ask the Calculator'

The basic version is a three-step process designed to generate a quick estimation of pasture consumption.

  • Enter details about the farm milking area, the herd, feed produced on the farm and brought in feeds.
  • Pick questions of interest and the calculator provides answers relating to pasture consumed and the energy in the feeds on offer.
  • Answers are generated using entered details and industry averages.

Entries can be saved by creating an account. Users can 'upgrade' to the intermediate version and details are copied over. Note that additional information will be required to ensure the intermediate version works correctly.

Intermediate calculator

The intermediate calculator requires more inputs to achieve better estimates of pasture consumed on the farm milking area.

Entries can be saved by creating an account. Users can 'upgrade' to the advanced version and details are copied over. Note that additional information will be required to ensure the advanced version works correctly.

Advanced calculator

The advanced calculator requires more detailed inputs relating to feed provided to each class of stock. The result is a more personalised and accurate estimate of pasture consumed on the farm milking area. Feed test results and accurate estimations of cow liveweights are highly valuable for this level of calculator.

Feed test results and accurate estimations of cow liveweights are highly valuable for this level of calculator. This tool is designed for use by researchers and is based on the published paper:

Heard JW, Doyle PT, Francis SA, Staines MH, Wales WJ (2011) Calculating dry matter consumption of dairy herds in Australia: the need to fully account for energy requirements and issues with estimating energy supply. Animal Production Science, 51, 605-614.

Note that in addition, the calculator also provides an estimation of annual feed conversion efficiency of the milking herd plus estimates of tonnes of dry matter per 100 mm water used.