Document Type


Publication Date



feed costs, dariy cows, production costs, south dakota, diary production

Extension Number

ExEx 4046


Dairy Science


Past reports make reference to advantages offered by states or regions when costs of production are compared (Garcia and Kalscheur 2005). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service recently published figures for different regions of the United States. The figures, available in USDA ERSW site (, show the economic advantage of South Dakota and neighboring states for dairy production. South Dakota currently ranks 14th nationally in per-cow milk production, and this recent growth came from improvements in both milk quality and herd management. Between the third quarters of 2008 and 2009, cow numbers and milk production increased in the state by 4.4% and 5.5%, respectively. The state was No. 1 in the country for change in both parameters during that period. These figures show the efficiency of existing operations and how they have improved productivity (tables 1 and 2). As of 2010 South Dakota ranks 21st in milk production. This publication discusses how local feed costs have influenced this trend and compares it to neighboring states.


January 2011.