A free spreadsheet that calculates the cost of haying and grazing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land is available from the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University (ISU).

With CRP land in all Iowa counties set to open Aug. 2, producers may want to use that forage to extend other feed resources and help reduce pressure on other pasture and hay acres, says Joe Sellers, ISU Extension and Outreach beef program specialist.

“The actual yield and quality of CRP tracts will vary, but in surveys conducted in past years, the average nutrient content has been 9.7% crude protein and 50.9% TDN,” says Sellers, who developed the spreadsheet.

The CRPhay2012 spreadsheet calculates the cost per bale or ton of hay and per grazing day by accounting for the 10% lost CRP payment, the anticipated harvest cost and yields. The tool will be useful in evaluating CRP as a feed alternative for cow-calf producers with short pastures and limited hay availability, he says.

Producers interested in using CRP ground for haying or grazing must follow Farm Service Agency (FSA) rules and should direct all questions about CRP availability and the request process to their local FSA offices, Sellers adds.