Pasture values in the Northern Plains & Corn Belt jumped nearly 22 percent over the last year, according to USDA’s latest land values report. In Iowa, pasture values rose 13.2 percent. But South Dakota led the surge higher. Average pasture values there rose to $590 per acre, up 25.5 percent from last year.
South Dakota land broker Ron Ensz said most of the tillable pasture land in central and eastern parts of the state will likely be planted to corn and soybeans. Tillable pasture in the west will go to wheat production.
Cattle producers are holding their own in this competitive environment, as they see the need for additional grazing acres due to the ongoing drought and the need for grass as a lower-cost feed for their cows.
Ensz cited a 30-thousand acre grass ranch in northwest South Dakota that was sold to a big Kansas feedlot. They wanted it to graze yearlings on before bringing them back to the feedlot to finish them on grain.