Diesel Yardage Calculator Can Help Producers Estimate Costs

Calculate your diesel fuel costs with yardage diesel fuel calculator

March 24, 2022, 3:05 pm | Garland Dahlke

AMES, Iowa – Current retail values of diesel fuel can be used as an index to estimate current and near-future yardage charges in maintaining livestock. Iowa Beef Center associate scientist Garland Dahlke said it’s important for producers to know their costs, especially in light of higher fuel prices. An updated resource from the Iowa Beef Center, which is a part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, allows producers to better estimate energy costs.

yardage calculator.Energy costs are highly correlated to all other costs of production. As energy costs climb, the cost of doing business climbs proportionately. When feeding cattle, the items that make up the yardage cost are influenced by energy costs, and diesel fuel prices are a good gauge to what should be happening to the yardage charge within a given operation, and when it needs to be adjusted.

“The beauty of this application is that energy costs precede all other costs, and diesel fuel pricing is something that is easy to discover and has less 'data noise' than following the price of oil on the Board of Trade,” explained Dahlke, an associate scientist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “With this in mind, we can do a fairly good job in estimating what the yardage cost of feeding a pen of cattle will be. We do need to do a little work in establishing what the initial yardage charge should be. With this point of reference, the changes in fuel price will influence this base calculation accordingly.”

Dahlke has updated the Iowa Beef Center’s Yardage-Diesel Fuel Relationship calculator to help producers determine cost estimates. This Excel-based calculator allows an existing yardage fee to be adjusted as changes in diesel fuel price occur.

The calculator file is available for free download from the calculators page on the Iowa Beef Center website.

For more information on the use of energy, specifically diesel fuel, as a common input from which others are influenced determining yardage costs, see this ISU Animal Industry Report by Dahlke: “Diesel Fuel Price as a means of Forecasting Livestock Yardage Costs”.

Shareable photo: Yardage calculator.

About the Authors: