South Dakota Fed Cattle Challenge


Registration is CLOSED
Program Duration: November 7 - April 2, 2021
Event Location: Online (Custom feeding at Winner Circle Feedyard)

CONTACT US AT (651)283-2891 or at

Provide an opportunity for youth (ages 14 through 18 as of January 1, 2020) 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. Receive and review 12 topics through videos and short quizzes
3. Calculate a closeout
4. Presentation

Participants must be between the age of 14 to 18 as of January 1, 2020. Participants must be residents of South Dakota.

If you have previously participated in the Fed Cattle Challenge, and you’re still eligible based on age and residency, you’re welcome to participate again. Participants that have previously participated and received one of the top three awards are NOT eligible to receive one of the top placings again.

Purchasing Cattle:
Winner Circle Feedyard will purchase, house, 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. Please understand that the estimate cost could range from $1,000-$1,400.

Winner Circle Feedyard projects to have cattle harvested around March 15, 2021. This will allow participants the necessary time to complete a closeout prior to the presentations on April 2, 2021.

Participants will receive videos on 12 topics related to feeding cattle. The topics will cover a curriculum that will chronologically detail the process of starting and finishing cattle and will be developed by industry experts.

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 the closeout will be provided to the participants.

After the project is complete and the cattle have been harvested, participants are asked to present to a panel of judges. Participants will be given a topic to prompt the presentation.

Scoring 100 total points:
15 points for Quiz Scores
25 points for accuracy calculating financial closeout
60 presentation of participants knowledge and understanding

Awards for the top three participants will be awarded after presentations: 
First place $1,500
Second place $1,000
Third place $500

Time Requirement: 
Participants will receive curriculum in the form of 5-10 minute videos, with written supporting material on a bi-weekly basis. They're asked to watch the video, and take a short 5-10 question online quiz at their convenience. The presentation is the only time the participants are required to meet in-person.

After registration closes, Winner Circle Feedyard will purchase a pen of cattle for the program. We'd like to allow one month for the feedyard to purchase the pen and send invoices. Participant will begin receiving curriculum via email on Monday, September 16.

Fed Cattle Challenge Tentative Schedule: 
October 20 registration is open until November 6 
Saturday, November 7: Winner Circle Feedyard Tour
Monday, November 9: Cattle Introduction, Payment, Invoices Video 
Monday, November 16: Hedging & Option Strategies Video
Monday, November 30: Starting Nutrition for Calves  
Monday, December 14: Preventative Healthcare
Monday December 28: Feed Ration Breakdown
Monday, January 4: Beta-Agonists
Monday, January 18: Finishing Ration & Bunk Management
Date TBD: South Dakota State University Beef 2020 (Optional)
Monday, February 1: Implants 
Monday, February 15: Live and Dead Carcass Evaluation Video
Monday, March 1: Cost of Gain & Breakevens  
Monday, March 15: Closeout Explanation
Friday, April 2 (Good Friday): Final Presentations, Virtual

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