Feed Sack Math

Rachel CutrerRHD Blog

50 pounds. To the 9-year-old first time 4-H showman, this necessary piece of equipment is your biggest enemy. In some cases, the feed sack may weigh more than the youngster showing.

I remember the day when I was finally able to lift a bag of feed. Prior to that moment, feeding time meant me or Catherine scooping out little clumps of feed with our hands, scoop by scoop. The day I could finally lift and pour the feed sack easily eliminated at least 15 minutes from our childhood feed routing.

To my husband, a feed sack is nothing. He lifts and throws those things like they were feathers. Earlier this year, after dental surgery, Brandon was banned from heavy lifting and I strictly was enforcing this rule. When it came time to unload feed, he thought he would make a point about how stupid his weight lifting ban was, and he said I wasn’t strong enough to do the job. Of course, any farm or ranch woman would see as a personal challenge. It took me about an hour, it nearly killed me, and it drew a crowd of observers from other ranch workers who came to see the show….but I’ll be danged if I didn’t show him I was capable of unloading a load of feed all by myself. 40 bags at 50 pounds each.

50 pounds.

50 pounds.

50 pounds.

Bag after bag, all of us in the farm and ranch business have loaded, unloaded, stacked, and re-stacked the feed sack. It’s part of our daily lives.  So, it’s no wonder that we use “feed sack math” for any type of numerical calculation in or around a quantity of 50 — or multiplied or divided by 50.

At the airport, checking luggage. Luggage limit? 50 pounds. You think to yourself – oh, that’s 1 feed sack. Imagine traveling to the airport with a bag of feed. Nightmare. Yet when I pack for Denver and barely make the weight limit, this seems to be no trouble at all.

luggage stuffing

What’d you bench press at the gym last week? Oh,  3 feed sacks.

Your daughter weighs how much? I currently refer to my 5-year old as “Feed Sack Cutrer” when I have to tote her around because she weighs 42 pounds. She hates the name. For the record, she was able to move out of her car seat and into a booster seat when she was 1 feed sack in weight.

How heavy is this box of an unassembled IKEA desk that clearly has a “team lift” label on the outside? Oh, just one feed sack. I can lift it myself. Team lifting is for sissies.


Need to install that big Ozarka water bottle into your water fountain and wondering if you can do it? One feed sack.

If you’ve ever been on a major diet, and lost 50 pounds, have you ever thought, “it’s like I was carrying around a feed sack this whole time and now I’m not!” I’ll admit when I was pregnant I repeatedly told my husband — you try sleeping with a feed sack on top of you!

“Oh, you lost 100 pounds over the last year?” “Yep… Two feed sacks…”

Can I carry this microwave up 3 flights of stairs to my new dorm room? Oh sure…. I’ve toted feed from the show parking lot into the barn tons of times.

Feed sack math can come back to haunt you though, once you’re capable of the carry. When you try to tell someone you can’t help them move furniture, ….they may reply: “I’ve seen you carry feed sacks – you can carry this!”

Feed sack math. Pretty useful for us country folks. In what ways do you use feed sack math in your daily lives?

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Ranch House Founder and CEO, Rachel Cutrer. 


Don’t miss another one of our weekly blogs by signing up for our email newsletter. You’ll get an informative and entertaining article sent straight to your inbox each week! Want to learn more about Ranch House or book a project? Explore our services and prices on our website.