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SDSU Field Stations

Agricultural research means economic development for South Dakota

As a land-grant institution, South Dakota State University, home to the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, has an enduring mission of practical, responsive research to help improve the farms and ranches, businesses and lives of South Dakotans. Research often starts on the SDSU campus, but for the science to ultimately reach out to real-life needs, researchers also work on SDSU research stations strategically located across the state.

"South Dakota map with research station locations. "

SDSU Cottonwood Field Station

Rangeland accounts for 59% of South Dakota’s land area. The SDSU Cottonwood Field Station is in the heart of our state’s rangeland. For nearly 100 years, work at this station has focused on cow-calf management and range research. Recently, scientists addressed water quality issues during persistent drought. SDSU scientists now use this 2,640-acre facility as a heifer development station. Heifer care and management during the first year of production have great impact on the lifetime productivity of the animal, and this research will help future generations of ranchers increase the overall profitability of their herd.

23738 Fairview Rd.
Philip, SD 57567
Contact: Katie Grott

SDSU Dakota Lakes Research Farm

The Dakota Lakes Research Farm focuses on both irrigated and dryland crop research. The farm is managed as a no-till farm. 240 of the 840 acres are devoted to irrigation. Irrigation allows scientists to compare and evaluate varieties, as well as comparing and evaluating management practices. It also allows scientists to do breeding work in both high- and low-moisture environments at the same location in the same year. The farm's field day, held the last Thursday in June, has been listed as one of the, “10 most exciting field days in the nation” by a major farm magazine.

21310 308th Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
Contact: Dwayne Beck

SDSU Oak Lake Field Station

The Oak Lake Field Station is a 570 acre facility located in the heart of the Northern Plains on the Coteau Des Prairie. Grassland, oak forest, wetland and lake environments located at the field station display the natural diversity of the prairie pothole region. The field station hosts university research focused on biofuels development, biodiversity of prairie communities, fire ecology, prairie pothole and stream ecology. Facilities on-site also service environmental education, university field courses, conferences, colloquia, retreats and community service events.

19862 483rd Ave.
Astoria, SD 57213
Contact: Charles Fenster
Contact: Bruce Eichhorst

SDSU Northeast Research Farm

The Northeast Research Farm is the smallest of SDSU’s research facilities. Size, however, is no measure of the importance local farmers place on the research results from this 80-acre farm. Research here has always emphasized crop breeding and solutions to pest-related problems. Throughout the growing season, local producers stop by regularly to judge the side-by-side performance of small grain, row crops, and alfalfa varieties, and to check the effectiveness of numerous herbicide and fertilizer treatments and other agronomic practices. Most of the research at this farm is of an applied nature – science that can quickly be put to work on neighboring farms.

15710 455 Ave.
South Shore, SD 57263
Contact: Paul O. Johnson

SDSU Southeast Research Farm

The Southeast Research Farm focuses on production agronomics in the heart of South Dakota’s corn and soybean country. It consists of 550 acres of dryland row crops, small grains and forages, and annually feeds nearly 1,000 head of beef cattle and swine. The combination of crops and livestock makes this research farm unique among the SDSU research stations, allowing scientists to take a systems approach much like those on diversified farms in the area. For example, field peas studied by agronomists looking for alternative crops may also be fed to cattle and hogs by animal scientists seeking new feed sources. This farm is often the final testing ground where producers see and evaluate new technology before adapting it to their operations.

29974 University Rd.
Beresford, SD 57004
Contact: Peter Sexton

SDSU West River Research and Extension

SDSU West River Research and Extension provides a West River home for SDSU’s teaching, research, and Extension programs. Its mission is to enhance the profitability of agriculture and the quality of life for South Dakota citizens by conducting research relevant to western South Dakota and by delivering educational programs for young people and adults. Staff members conduct research at the SDSU Cottonwood Field Station, SDSU West River Research Farm and on individual cooperator operations throughout western South Dakota. They also provide a constant SDSU presence in support of events at the Black Hills Stock Show, Central States Fair, Western Junior Livestock Show, and other West River events.

711 N. Creek Dr.
Rapid City, SD 57703
Contact: Kristi Cammack

SDSU West River Research Farm

The West River Research Farm is comprised of 111 acres located northwest of Sturgis. The station was acquired by South Dakota State University in 2018. It focuses on agronomic and livestock research for conditions similar to those in western South Dakota. The combination of crops and livestock allows researchers to perform grazing, cover crop and variety trials. SDSU's statewide network of weather stations, called the Mesonet at SDState, has a weather station located on the West River Research Farm that provides weather information to the surrounding community.

13304 Alkali Rd. 
Sturgis, SD 57785
Contact: Kristi Cammack and Christopher Graham