William F. Lazarus

Decision Tools

Crops & Machinery
MACHDATA.xlsm Machinery cost calculator and database that accompanies the extension publication Machinery Cost Estimates and contains the input data used. (contains macros and requires Excel 2007 or later. You will be asked to provide contact information.)
REPAIRCOST.XLS Machinery repair cost calculator. See also a Forage Focus article about the repair cost calculator. Download Paper (REPAIR_CHECK.pdf)
Livestock & Manure Handling
ROBOT.xlsm Robotic milking system economic analysis spreadsheet, with Jim Salfer, Extension Educator - Dairy, November 2013.
AIR_QUALITY_ECON.xlsm Tool to assist the operator of a livestock or poultry operation to calculate the costs and benefits of installing technologies to treat odors and chemicals that could be emitted from the facility. supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2010-85112-20520. Click here for links to videos explaining the tool. (Requires MS Excel 2007 or later.)
DIGESTER_ECON.xlsm Tool for doing rough initial calculations of annual costs and returns to be expected from owning and operating a methane digester on a dairy farm. Developed under a project funded from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. (Requires MS Excel 2007 or later. You will be asked to provide your contact information.)
CUSTOM_DRAGHOSE.xlsm and CUSTOM_TANK.xlsm have example data, or enter your own data in

CUSTOM_DRAGHOSE.XLSM is a spreadsheet for custom manure applicators to estimate the cost of applying liquid manure with a drag hose system. CUSTOM_TANK.XLSM is for a tank applicator system applying solid manure, or a box spreader system for solid manure. Space is provided to enter up to 8 tractors and power units and 20 implements and attachments such as applicators, pumps, and hose reels, and 6 trucks. Up to 120 individual jobs can be analyzed for cost differences related to distances, application rates, and equipment required. (Requires Excel 2007 or later). See also part 1 and part 2 of a short video explaining how to use the spreadsheets. The videos discuss the draghose version.

MANURWKST and related files Addresses questions related to the economic value of livestock manure and costs of hauling and applying it (with Bob Koehler, retired extension educator, U of MN Southwest Research and Outreach Center). This is a link to several spreadsheets with a news release, PDFs of presented papers, Powerpoint slide sets, and hand worksheets.


Spreadsheet for comparing the value of improved pig growth performance versus the costs of including various technologies for maintaining more constant environmental conditions in a swine finishing barn, developed for the National Pork Board-funded “greener pig barn” project, completed December 2010. Works only with Excel 2007 or later. Click to download related ASABE paper.

Please note: These spreadsheets contain macros. For the macros to operate properly, the Excel macro protection feature must be set to Medium or Low, NOT High. To change that setting, select Tools, Options, and then Security. Click on the Macro Security button at the bottom to make that change.

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