Feeding in SD
Doing Business in SD
South Dakota has a yearly weather cycle that is very conducive to agriculture, with a weather pattern that allows for good yields on many important feedstuffs and weather that is moderate enough for livestock comfort.
Good yielding crops serve two purposes in a livestock feeding system: first by providing the feed needed and second by providing a necessary outlet for nutrients produced by livestock manure to help grow future crops.
Traditionally the Southern Plains States have been thought to have an advantage in climate over Upper Great Plains States when it comes to finishing livestock, especially sheep and cattle. With today’s modern shaped and drained feedlot designs, cattle can be fed in South Dakota while staying very comfortable. Mud is the hardest thing on livestock in the open lots, and in South Dakota, we typically only have mud in the spring as compared to the Southern Plains States where they deal with rain and mud from fall through spring. Modern confinement and combination open lot/confinement (Iowa design) feeding operations also have proven to be very efficient in South Dakota by providing cattle year round shelter from rain, snow, mud, and heat. Some of these facilities are proven to have some of the highest feed to gain efficiencies in the country.
Precipitation Normal for 1971 through 2000 (in inches)
Growing Season Precipitation (in inches)
|Estimated lower critical temperatures for beef cattle.|
|Coat Description||Lower Critical Temperature|
|Wet or summer coat||60°F|
|Dry fall coat||45°F|
|Dry winter coat||32°F|
|Dry heavy winter coat||19°F|
To learn more about South Dakota's weather, click here to visit the South Dakota Climate and Weather website.
To view the Cattle Stress Hourly Map, click here.
& Range Sciences
Beef Quality Assurance
SD Animal Industry Board
State Ag Statistics
SD Livestock Laws