Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purpose of this study was to provide South Dakota Dairy producers and others interested in establishing large scale dairy operations with a more complete set of guide lines that will help them to determine the profitableness of expanding existing or establishing new dairy producing units. It is hoped that many management problems, encountered by existing or previous “cow pools” can either be eliminated or greatly reduced in future large scale dairy operations. An average of the four surveyed 8-140 cow dairy herds and eight model dairy systems were analyzed in this study. The three objectives were to: (1) determine representative costs of producing milk in 80-140 cow herds in South Dakota, (2) determine the economics of scale of producing milk by establishing model systems, using both stanchion and loose housing, and (3) determine the profitability of such dairy systems in South Dakota. In order to obtain a realistic cost and return analysis of producing milk in large herds in South Dakota, a sample of four large herds was selected for securing this data. Since few large scale dairies are in operation in South Dakota, this included over 16 percent of the dairies in the state with 80 cows or more in the milking herd. The average number of cows per farm was 108 with an average production per cow of 10,632 pounds of milk which included milk used for family and other purposes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dairy Barns


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages