Cornell Sheep Program Software

FeedForm (diet formulation)

SheepFlock (flock budget spreadsheet)

SheepFlock is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that considers the flock inventory; available pasture and hay resources; purchased feed; fences, buildings, equipment and other capital items; interest expense and opportunity costs; labor; and other cash and noncash expenses to determine profitability. Click and save to an appropriate folder or open the spreadsheet directly if Excel is installed on your system. The spreadsheet includes three macros. Procedure for downloading and enabling macros:

  1. Download and save the file to your hard drive.
  2. Open the file.
  3. Tools->Macros->Security (change security from High to Medium).
  4. Save and close the file.
  5. Open the file (enable macros when prompted).

Disclaimer: Sheep Flock provides default values for all inputs, including an estimate of daily digestible dry matter required per ewe. In no case should these values necessarily be considered correct for a particular farm. In addition, although the calculations of Sheep Flock Budget have been checked carefully, there could be errors in the spreadsheet. Please report any errors to Mike Thonney.

SheepSim (simulation of genetics and economics for a flock of sheep)

SheepSim simulates selection and management in an economic context.  It is based upon the STAR management system but flocks can be managed with one to five breeding seasons a year.  The instructions for running the program are given below and also included in a ReadMe.txt file.  To obtain a copy, click here for a zip file that is 2.45 Mbytes in size. Installation

  1. Find the SheepSim.exe file (either on the disk sent to you or in the attachments folder that your mail program uses).  This is a self-extracting zip file.
  2. Double-click on the SheepSim.exe file to extract the installation files.
  3. Install the program by double-clicking on setup.exe in the directory to which the installation files were extracted and following directions.
  4. Start the program by selecting SheepSim from the list of program files.
  5. Select Start a New Project.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click View and then Farm Options.
  8. Check and change all farm options to describe the farm.
  9. Choose matings.
  10. Click the STAR to advance 73 days.
  11. If you only want to breed once a year, deselect the matings until the breeding season (January, mid-March, late-May, August, late-October) you wish to use.
  12. Click Sell/Buy to sell animals.
  13. Click the More info buttons to see more information on each sheep.
  14. After a year, the Reports option becomes available to display economic information.
BreakEven (calculate break even prices for lamb feeding)

BreakEven is an Excel Workbook that calculates breakeven costs for feeding lambs to heavier weights. Click here to get the file. The purpose of this workbook is to calculate returns on feeding lambs and to compare options for sales of lambs. This documentation describes the inputs and outputs. Note that only cells with green entries should be changed. There are 8 worksheets in the workbook:

  1. Main is the summary sheet.
  2. Inputs to Yardage provides a rough way to calcuate the cost of management labor, bedding, and capital equipment per head of capacity in the feedlot.
  3. Inputs to FeederMarketing calculates the cost of marketing feeder lambs to a terminal (central) market.
  4. Inputs to FinishedMarketing calculates the cost of marketing finished lambs to a terminal (central) market.
  5. Cost of gain calculates cost of gain. Inputs are from Main and Yardage.
  6. BrEv COG calculates the breakeven cost of gain at a given feeder lamb price and a given finished price. All inputs are from Main.
  7. BrEv Feeder calculates the breakeven cost of feeder lambs at a given cost of gain and finished lamb price. All inputs are from Main.
  8. BrEv Fiinished calculates the breakeven cost of Finished lambs at a given cost of gain and feeder lamb price. All inputs are from Main.

Main worksheet

  • Terminal market prices (B6 & B7) are current prices at a terminal market, like the one at New Holland, PA or best guesses for future prices.
  • Feeder and Finished prices (B9 & B10) are Teminal market prices unless changed. They can be changed directly to reflect expected future prices or they can be changed to get breakeven prices for either feeder or finished lambs by clicking the gray buttons to the right. Click the Reset button to return to Terminal market prices.
  • Price of feed (B11) is the expected cost of feed in $/ton. The breakeven cost of feed can be estimated by clicking the gray button. To return to the expected cost of feed, it must be re-entered.
  • Feed/gain (B12) is the expected amount of feed used per unit gain.
  • ADG (B13) is the expected average daily gain of the feeder lambs if they are to be marketed as finished lambs.
  • Initial weight (D9) is the starting or purchased weight of feeder lambs.
  • Final weight (D10) is the market weight of finished lambs.
  • Death loss (D12) is the percentage of feeder lambs that die during the feeding time period.
  • Gained (D13) is the proportion of total gain, on average, that the dead feeder lambs gained before they died.
  • Interest rate (D14) is the cost or opportunity cost of the investment in the feeder lambs.
  • Number of feeders (D21) is the number of feeder lambs.
  • Farm discounts (G21 G22) are the discounts from the Terminal market prices for lambs purchased directly from the farm.

All of the above inputs plus those from Yardage, FeederMarketing, and FinishedMarketing (see below) are used to compute the rest of the cells in the spreadsheet.

  • Breakeven cost per pound of gain is based upon feeder lamb and finished lamb prices in B9 & B10, but also includes costs from cells B26 and B30 and includes death loss from D12.
  • Breakeven cost of feeders is based upon the finished lamb price in B10 and the actual cost of gain from the Cost of gain worksheet.
  • Breakeven price of finished lambs is based upon feeder lamb price in B9 and the actual cost of gain from the Cost of gain worksheet.
  • Value if sold as feeders in B22 is based upon Feeder price in B9 and number of lambs in B21.
  • Value if sold as finished in B23 is based upon Finished price in B10 minus death loss minus cost of gain.
  • Profit from marketing finished lambs in B24 is Value if sold as finished minus Value if sold as feeders.
  • Farm prices for Feeders in G23 and Finished in G24 are the prices discounted from the Terminal market prices.
  • Farm values for feeders and finished lambs are the prices x weights x number of lambs.
  • Farm profit from marketing finished lambs is the Finished value minus the feeder value.


Inputs to Yardage provide a rough way to calculate the cost of management labor, bedding, and capital equipment per head of capacity in the feedlot. The overall cost for the feedlot (barn, shed, elevated pen, or whatever consitutes where the lambs are fed) is entered in B3. The number of lambs the feedlot can hold is entered in B4. The daily yardage cost is calculated after accounting for death losses. FeederMarketing & FinishedMarketing Inputs to are used to calculate the cost of marketing lambs to a terminal (central) market.

  • Shrinkage is the percent of body weight lost from the time the lamb leaves the farm until it is sold.
  • Commission is the sales charge per lamb by the terminal market.
  • Feed at yards is the feed charge per lamb by the terminal market.
  • Trucking is the cost of transportation from the farm to the terminal market.
  • Checkoff per pound is the assessment deducted per pound for market promotion by the American Lamb Board.
BonusLamb (budget for artificial rearing of lambs)

BonusLamb is an Excel Workbook that calculates breakeven costs for feeding lambs to heavier weights. Click here to get the file.

Artificially rearing lambs often is assumed to be unprofitable because good quality milk replacer can be expensive and because people with experience bottle-feeding lambs assume that there is a high labor cost. A budget, based upon the work of Yves Berger and Richard Schlapper at the University of Wisconsin Spooner Agricultural Research Station at Spooner, was developed to evaluate the situation. This budget shows that, although milk replacer prices are high, properly managed artificially-reared lambs are profitable at 2007 lamb prices.

See pages 7 through 15 of the Proceedings of the 46th Annual Spooner Sheep Day (1998) to read the complete article to learn how to manage artificial rearing of lambs.

Download BonusLamb here.

Accelerated lambing schedules

Given a month and day to start lambing the spreadsheet, CIDR Accelerated Lambing Schedule, creates a yearly schedule of tasks for breeding using CIDRs to synchronize estrus. 



Choose a management area

Cornell Small Ruminant Management List Server
Click here to join the Cornell University sheepgoatmanagement list server. The purpose of the list server is to ask about and exchange information about sheep and goat management.

Cornell Sheep Program Home

Frequently used

Solar grazing

From Cornell University

Dairy sheep

From other academic and Extension sources 

From industry


  • ASI Sheep Care Guide
  • Sheep & Goat Research Journal
  • Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep: Breeds, Care, Facilities (search for this on-line)
  • The Sheep Book (by Ron Parker) (search for this on-line)


Michael L. Thonney, Professor
Director, Cornell Sheep Program and Graduate Field of Animal Science
114 Morrison Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4801

Dan L. Brown, Associate Professor
Nutritional Toxicologist
320 Morrison Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4801

tatiana L. Stanton, Extension Associate
Goat Specialist
114 Morrison Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4801 

Niko Kochendoerfer, PhD Student and Graduate Assistant
110 Morrison Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4801

Cornell Cooperative Extension Field Educators (posted on Mike Baker's Beef Cattle web site)

Interns, Students, and Volunteers

Major revision: October 2015
Please contact Mike Thonney at if you can't find something from the previous version.
Copyright © 2015 Michael L. Thonney

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