Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



During the past few years the cattle feeding industry in the United States has undergone many physical, technological changes. One of the most noticeable changes has been the growth of commercial and large-scale cattle feeding operations. Practically all of these beef factories are located on the west coast and other states in the southwest. States where most of the commercial and large-scale feeding is done include: California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Nebraska. In California, for example, 68 per cent of the cattle on feed are fed in lots of over 10,000 head. There are a number of reasons why these areas are particularly well suited for large-scale feeding and they are: climate, extensive irrigation, and large supplies of low-cost feeder cattle. Another important reason is that there has been mass shifts of population to the coastal area creating a strong demand for meat products. Most of these commercial and large-scale feedyards are privately owned. Some of the larger ones are organized either as corporations or partnerships. Another type that is relatively new is the cooperative feedyard. As of January, 1960, there were only four such operations in the United States. C. G. Randell states that considerable interest has developed in cooperative feedyards in the past three years, especially in the west. Cooperative yards are located at Oklahoma City; Edwall, Washington; Pendleton, Oregon; and Bainville, Montana. Producer groups in many sections of the country have shown an interest, but according to Randell the principal deterrents are adequate capital and leadership. This study was made to serve as a guide for farmers and ranchers in the organization and operation of a cooperative feedyard. The specific objectives of this study are: (1) to determine the feasibility of a cooperative feedyard as a means of feeding cattle, and (2) to investigate the problems involved in the organization, operation, financing, and marketing of livestock from a cooperative feedyard. This study presents information relative to development of cooperative feedyards. Data and information used in this study were obtained by analyzing the organization and operation policies of various large—scale feeding operations and adapting these ideas to a cooperative type arrangement. Additional information was obtained by personal visits to various types of feedyards, making a case study of a cooperative feedyard, and drawing on actual experience with different types of feedyard operations. Costs and returns of a model cooperative feedlot are presented in this study by comparing the cost of feeding cattle in a cooperative feedyard as compared to feeding in a farm feedlot. Capital investment figures are presented to serve as a guide for interested groups planning to organize a cooperative feedyard. Capital requirements for the model feedyard developed in this study were obtained through the assistance of the Agricultural Engineering Department at South Dakota State College and the Economic Research Division of the Consumers Cooperative, Kansa City, Missouri. Since these data do not involve projected prices, they cannot provide the relationship of what is to be expected in years ahead; however, enough flexibility is provided in the plan so that price adjustments can be readily made.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Agriculture, Cooperative
Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University