Cost benefit calculator for nitrogen fertiliser use on grassland

Accounting for fertiliser and feed prices, it calculates the cost benefit of applying nitrogen to grassland.

Use this tool to work out the cost versus the benefit of applying nitrogen fertiliser to grassland. Accounting for fertiliser and feed prices, it calculates the cost of nitrogen application and then compares with the feed value of grass. This will help with the decision on whether it is more cost effective to apply nitrogen fertiliser to grassland or purchase feed instead.

Why did we develop this tool?

An energy crisis and war in Ukraine have contributed to unprecedentedly high fertiliser prices. Many livestock producers are thinking about whether it is still economic to apply nitrogen fertiliser to grassland or buy in feed instead.

What does the tool calculate?

The tool calculates:

  • Cost of nitrogen fertiliser and application (£/kg)
  • Grass feed value (£/kg dry matter)
  • Cost benefit ratio
  • Cost benefit result

The results provided can aid decision making. However, local adjustments may be required to fit specific circumstances.

What figures (inputs) are required by the tool?

The cost benefit calculation is based on seven inputted figures:

  1. Fertiliser product price (£/t)
  2. Fertiliser product nitrogen content (%)
  3. Fertiliser spreading cost (£/ha), a typical figure is provided
  4. Number of nitrogen applications (per year)
  5. Total nitrogen fertiliser applied (kg N/ha per year)
  6. Feed/blend/concentrate price (£/t)
  7. Dry matter of feed (%), a typical figure is provided

Frequently asked questions

When I click on 'Download resource' I am only able to view the calculator. How can I use the tool?

When you click on ‘Download resource’ from the AHDB website and the calculator opens up in viewing mode only, at the top of the screen there should be a button that says ‘Download file’. Click on this and you should then be able to click on or open the downloaded file.

Does the tool work out my recommended nitrogen application rates?

No. The calculator just works out the cost of nitrogen fertiliser and its application versus the feed value of grass. There are other apps and calculators available to calculate your recommended nitrogen application rate or use the RB209 publication. A link to RB209 can be found at the bottom of this page.

RB209 home page

The Nutrient Management Guide (RB209)

Helps you make the most of organic materials and balance the benefits of fertiliser use against the costs.

RB209 Section 3 Grass and forage crops

Adjusting N rates and alternative fertiliser management options

Nitrogen recommendations for grassland in light of costly fertilisers - ADAS report