Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Animal Science


Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) measurements collected over a nine year period from 185 privately owned cow-calf enterprises from eight states in the Northern Great Plains were used to characterize and analyze production, financial and management performance. The mean average size of the enterprises in this sample population was 508 beginning year breeding females and 5067 hectares. The mean pregnancy percentage, and weaning percentage were 93.0 ± 4.6, 86.7 ± 7.8 respectively. The mean weaning weight, and weaned weight per exposed female were 235.9 ± 27.3 kg and 205.0 ± 32.3 kg respectively. For the 148 herds that provided both production and financial data, on a dollar per 100 kg of weaned calf basis, the mean total assets invested, total expenditures and total revenue were 970.97 ± 664.91, 189.55 ± 98.30, and206.62 ± 79.60 respectively. The mean breakeven and net income were 154. 1 1 ± 97. 7 5, 1 7. 09 ± 84 .1 7 respectively. The mean return on assets (ROA) was 3.1 ± 9.8 %. Enterprises were divided into three profit groups based on (ROA). High Profit enterprises were defined as those with a ROA> 1 D above the mean RO of the ample population. Low Profit enterprises were defined as those with a ROA < l SD below the mean. Medium Profit was defined as cow-calf enterprises with ROA of-6.7% to 12.9%. Size of operation in terms of number of exposed females, beginning fiscal year breeding females and hectares were similar for all three profit groups. High Profit had a higher weaning percentage (P < 0.10) than Low or Medium Profit. High and Medium Profit enterprises had higher calving percentages and weaned more kilograms per cow exposed (P < 0.10) than Low Profit. Medium Profit had heavier weaning weights (P < 0.10) than Low Profit. On a dollars per 100 kg weaned calf basis, High Profit had lower total assets invested than Medium Profit and lower annual total expenditures, higher total revenue and lower breakeven than both Low and Medium Profit (P < 0.05). High Profit also had higher net income than both Low and Medium Profit (P < 0.01). Important factors affecting ROA were determined with the Maximum R- Square Improvement procedures of SA. A predictive equation with an R2 of 0.813 included the independent variables dollars of net income and owners equity on a per 100 kg of weaned calf basis, pregnancy percentage, and the interaction of net income and owners equity (P < 0.05). Cow-calf enterprises with either high levels of owner's equity and low net income or low levels of owner's equity and high net income had high level of ROA. Size of operation and year were not factors that affected ROA.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Beef cattle -- Cow-calf system -- Great Plains
Beef cattle -- Economic aspects -- Great Plains



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University