Opportunities and Challenges for Dairy Steer Production in Northwest Iowa

  • Beth E. Doran (Iowa State University)
  • Ron Orth (Iowa Institute for Cooperatives)
  • John D. Lawrence (Iowa State University)


A dairy steer survey, co-sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, was mailed to 635 cattle producers in northwest Iowa to assay the potential opportunities and challenges of feeding dairy steers. Replies from 177 surveys were summarized. Thirty-seven percent cited profitability as the major reason they had fed dairy steers. In comparing beef and dairy steers, reduced feeder calf cost was cited as an advantage with dairy steers. However, market access, finished market price and feed efficiency of dairy steers rated poorer than with beef steers. The biggest challenge to dairy steer production was market access, followed by weather and increased health problems. This survey indicates that while there may be opportunities for dairy steer production in northwest Iowa, the number one impediment is restricted market access and, hence, the finished market price.

Keywords: Iowa Beef Center, ASL R1834, Economics

How to Cite:

Doran, B. E., Orth, R. & Lawrence, J. D., (2004) “Opportunities and Challenges for Dairy Steer Production in Northwest Iowa”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2004
Peer Reviewed