BFNMP$: A Tool for Estimating Feedlot Manure Economics

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Why Consider the Costs of Manure Transport in Nutrient Planning?

* Presentation slides are available at the bottom of the page.

The Beef Feed Nutrient Management Planning Economics (BFNMP$) computer program can assist producers in understanding the impacts manure handling changes could have on their operation.  It calculates manure management economics based on animal nutrient intake, manure nutrient availability, land requirements for spreading, operating costs, and fertilizer value.  These values can be altered to fit individual operations.  The objective of this analysis was to use the BFNMP$ software tool to evaluate the effect of distillers grains inclusion, nitrogen (N) volatilization, and manure application rate on feedlot nutrient management plans.

The BFNMP$ software tool is organized into 4 modules with producers entering information about their operation and then viewing the results.  Outputs include nutrients produced, land needed for manure application, time the plan will take to implement, and economic implications.

What Did We Do?

This program was used to determine 1) impact of dietary N and P from traditional grain based diets compared to diets including 40% distillers grains (DG); 2) effect of different N volatilization (VOL) rates; 3) impact of changing manure application rates from N to P based and from 1 to 4 yr rates.  While comparing scenarios, all other factors in the model were constant.  These scenarios fed out 5,000 cattle per year in 100 hd pens from 341 to 591 kg with 144 d on feed.

What Have We Learned?

Increasing dietary N and P, with a 40% DG diet, increases excretion of these nutrients.  Capturing these nutrients in manure increases costs, but increases value at a greater rate.  Manure from cattle fed a traditional feedlot diet with 50% N VOL has a value of $21.53/animal ($14.45/Mg) based on inorganic fertilizer values.  Feeding a 40% DG ration results in manure worth $29.70/animal ($19.94/Mg).  Decreasing N VOL to 20% increases value of the manure to $26.55/animal ($17.83/Mg) and $37.11/animal ($24.93/Mg) for the grain based and DG diet, respectively.  Phosphorus based applications require about 3 times the acres of N based applications, but spreading on a N basis results in excess P buildup.  Spreading enough manure in 1 yr to meet crop P requirements for 4 yrs costs approximately the same as spreading manure every yr to meet N requirements.

Future Plans

The BFNMP$ program has been designed to aid feedlots in implementing a nutrient management plan.  This tool allows them to see the potential effects of changes before implementing them and promotes better utilization of valuable manure nutrients.


Andrea Watson, graduate student, University of Nebraska

Galen Erickson, professor, University of Nebraska

Terry Klopfenstein, professor, University of Nebraska

Rick Koelsch, assistant dean, extension and former professor, University of Nebraska

Ray Massey, professor, University of Missouri

Joseph Harrison, professor, Washington State University

Matt Luebbe, assistant professor, University of Nebraska

Additional Information 2006 Beef Report pg. 98; 2008 Beef Report pg. 59; 2012 Beef Report pg. 104       website to download the software tool and user guide


Funding provided by USDA NRCS CIG Program – Decision Aid Tool to Enhance Adoption of Feed Management 592 (FMPS 592) – Contract No. 69-3A75-10-121.

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