South Dakota Fed Cattle Challenge

Event Timing: Register by October 15, 2018
Event Location: Winner Circle Feedyard & Demkota Ranch Beef
Contact us at (651) 283-2891 or
[To register, click here]

Provide an opportunity for youth (ages 14 through 18 as of January 1, 2018) to learn about the science and economics of finishing cattle by participating in a calf finishing program.

There are four parts to the program:
1. Understand the process for finishing cattle through ownership of cattle at a custom feedlot
2. Participate in two education webinars
3. Calculate a closeout
4. Present what they have learned to a panel

Purchasing Cattle:
Winner Circle Feedyard will purchase, house and feed and vaccinate the participant's cattle through harvest. The participant is required to purchase three cattle for this project. Each participant will receive an invoice for 30% of the purchase cost of the three cattle for this project.

Cattle Costs & Proceeds:
Winner Circle Feedyard will finance the remaining value of the cattle as well as the feed, yardage, hedging and veterinary/medical costs. Each billing period, the feedyard will be paying the costs until the cattle are sold.

*Proceeds from the cattle will be divided among the owners of the cattle and the number of cattle they own in this project, minus the divided costs. Carcass proceeds -- (calf purchase price + costs) = Participants Revenue

Estimated costs include:

  • Estimated 30% equity of the purchase price for 800 pound heifer at $1.40/lbs = $336 * 3 = $1,008
  • Medicine & veterinary costs estimation = $16/head * 3 = $48
  • Every two weeks the feedlot would accrue an estimated $35 in feed & yardage costs per head

The cattle will be sold to Demkota Ranch Beef in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Participants will have the opportunity to view the carcass in the cooler while the USDA grader is grading the carcass.

There will be two webinars that will require participation by each person enrolled in the program. These webinars will cover a curriculum that will chronologically detail the process of starting and finishing cattle. The curriculum will also cover details from the procurement of cattle and receiving protocols through re-implanting and marketing cattle.

Participants will use the information from the invoices that they received from the feedyard during the time that the cattle are on feed, the purchase weight and cost, and the carcass weight and value of the pen of cattle to calculate a closeout. Instructions and calculations for calculating a closeout will be provided to the participants.

After the project is complete and the cattle have been harvested, participants are asked to present their projects to a panel of judges. They'll be scored based on the closeout accuracy and knowledge of the following:

1) Initial body weight
2) Sex
3) Projection of finishing performance and breakeven
4) Marketing date….. all calves will have this as a common end date
5) Day they went on feed
6) Vaccination and implant program
7) Starting ration fed – ingredients and percentage of the ration for each ingredient
8) Finishing ration fed – ingredients and percentage of the ration for each ingredient
9) What day the finishing ration started
10) Cost of the receiving and finishing rations
11) Therapeutic treatments during the feeding period
12) Medication costs
13) Square footage per head of the pen they were finished in
14) Use of bedding, if so how much bedding was used and cost
15) Feed additives fed
16) DMI
17) ADG
18) DM conversion
19) Feed cost of gain
20) Total cost of gain without interest
21) Total cost of gain with interest
22) Death loss
23) Final live body weight
24) Hot carcass weight
25) Adjusted live body weight (Carcass weight adjusted to 63% yield)
26) Dressed yield
27) Basis when cattle were sold

Scoring 200 total points:

• 50 points for the above list of information
• 50 presentation skills – organization and knowledge
• 25 for description of hedging program
• 25 points for calculating finishing performance
• 25 points for calculating financial closeout
• 25 points for calculating the live value and the carcass value of the cattle

Based on their participation in the program, their completion of the listed criteria, and presentation, awards for the top three participants will be awarded.

First place $1500
Second place $1000
Third place $500

Participants must be between the age of 14 to 18 as of January 1, 2018. Participants must be residents of South Dakota.


stay in the loop

Join our mailing list for more information about the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation