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Animal Science research

Research in the Department of Animal Science is under the auspices of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Additionally, research funding to support this mission is obtained from grants through federal agencies, commodity organizations, and private industry. Departmental research has a long history of effective collaborations between faculty members within the unit as well as with other universities, federal laboratories and industry. Faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students and staff conduct research in well-equipped laboratories on campus, animal units near campus, and three research stations at various locations throughout the state. In particular, facilities near campus consist of the Cow/Calf Teaching and Research Unit, Equine Teaching Facility, Ruminant Nutrition Center, Sheep Unit, and Swine Unit. Off-site facilities consist of the Southeast Farm (feedlot and swine research), the Cottonwood Station (cattle research), and the Antelope Station (cattle and sheep research). Research in the Department of Animal Science covers a wide variety of timely topics critical to the betterment of animal agriculture. Examples of ongoing research include:

  • Beef cattle nutrition, growth, development, nutrient-reproductive interactions, and management
  • Swine management, nutrition, and neuroendocrine control of reproduction
  • Equine management and effects on the environment
  • Sheep reproductive management strategies, and use of co-products in diet formulations
  • Grazing livestock nutrition, supplements, and crop-livestock interactions
  • Applied range beef cattle management and nutrition
  • Cattle fertility and early embryonic development
  • Genetic variation in vaccine response in beef cattle
  • Alternative feedstuffs, mineral nutrition, and water quality for livestock
  • Meat Science: marbling development, carcass quality – tenderness and palatability, fetal nutrition and carcass properties, and fetal programming
  • Cellular mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle growth and development of meat animals

Animal Science publications

Many of our faculty's publications have been archived on our Department of Animal Science OpenPRAIRIE page.


​South Dakota State University has a strong beef program with a number of faculty, courses, and extension programs.

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South Dakota State University has a strong equine program that offers a minor and extension programming.

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Meat Science

Mission statement:  To improve the lives of citizens of South Dakota, the United States, and the world by providing opportunities to develop skills, direction, and the drive to be successful, and by enhancing meat quality and safety, and by reducing food costs.

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South Dakota State University has a long history of producing sheep on campus for research, teaching, and extension programming.

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South Dakota State University has a strong swine program, with research in the areas of nutrition and reproduction, swine courses, and extension programming.

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Cow and Calf Research and Teaching Unit

The SDSU Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility (CCERF) plays a key role in serving the needs of SDSU students and state beef cattle producers across the Upper Midwest. Students enrolled in numerous courses in the Department of Animal Science and across the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in beef cattle production at the facility. Furthermore, students with an interest in seedstock merchandising are able to gain firsthand experience with the promotion and sale of Angus and SimAngus cattle, as the class is responsible for the production of the annual SDSU Bull Sale held each spring.

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Ruminant Nutrition Center

The Ruminant Nutrition Center serves as the university’s research center for feedlot production research.

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Sheep facilities

The Sheep Research and Teaching Unit is composed of approximately 80 acres of grass pasture and hay ground, including the building site, plus 40 acres of crop land for forage and silage production.

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SDSU Swine Education and Research Facility

The $7.4 million SDSU Swine Education and Research Facility consists of three buildings including a Sow Teaching and Intensive Research Complex, On-Site Wean-to-Finish Research Barn, and an Off-Site Wean-to-Finish Production Barn.

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Antelope Research Station

The Antelope Research Station is an endeavor by South Dakota State University and SDSU Extension to assist ranching in South Dakota. At 8,300 acres, it is the largest of SDSU’s research stations.

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