Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




South Dakota apparently produces an adequate quantity of feeders and feed grains to substantially increase slaughter cattle production. Furthermore, South Dakota prices for feed grain, roughage, and feeder cattle are equal to, or less than, the prices for these inputs in other areas where cattle feeding has flourished in recent years. It should also be determined how South Dakota farmers might increase fat cattle production. Therefore, in an attempt to explain South Dakota's slow cattle feeding growth and possibly help farmers in South Dakota and neighboring areas develop the cattle feeding industry, the following problems were researched. First, this area experiences long and cold winters which can reduce cattle gains and feed efficiency. Also, the winter provides a harsh environment for a man to labor in. To alleviate the problems imposed by the state's climate, it was hypothesized that total confinement feedlots may be a feasible alternative for South Dakota farmers interested in feeding cattle. The total confinement feedlots considered were cold-slatted barns and will be more completely described in later sections. A secondary issue to be considered was to determine what sizes of confinement feedlots are more economical to operate. Also, in past research in other states, the economic feasibility of operating confinement facilities instead of open lots was determined under particular assumptions. This study considered the effect of varying two assumptions which could change the feasibility of using total confinement for feeding cattle. The assumptions are: (1) wage rate for feedlot operators and (2) differences in feed efficiency or feed costs between open lots and total confinement cattle feeding barns. In trying to answer the question of why feeding could be depressed in South Dakota, another specific problem concerning feeder cattle marketing within the state was investigated. The investigation such marketing’s could provide information which could lead to another incentive to feed more cattle in South Dakota. The objectives of the study were: 1. To compare the return to management and/or ownership from various sizes of open lot and confinement feedlots, given certain prices for feeder cattle, feed grain, labor, and other inputs. 2. To compare the return to management and/or ownership from different sizes of open lot and confinement feedlots when variations in the inputs of wage rates and feed efficiency are considered. 3. To analyze the marketing intentions of feeder cattle producers within the state to evaluate supplies of feeder cattle available to cattle feedlots.

Library of Congress Subject Headings


Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds

Beef cattle



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University