Three cheers for South Dakota chickens

If there was a national tournament for egg-laying chickens, South Dakota’s team would have to be among the favorites.

I jumped to that perhaps illogical conclusion recently after looking over a production report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Poultry data indicated that, on average, egg-laying chickens in South Dakota produced 291 eggs during the 12-month period that ended Nov. 30, 2011. That compared with a national average of 271 eggs per layer.

This is also noteworthy: South Dakota’s production average jumped by 13 eggs from 2010 to 2011, compared with a measly two-egg jump at the national average.

Production per bird has been rising steadily for several years. In South Dakota, it’s jumped by more than two dozen eggs per hen in the past five years.

I don’t know how production was increased, but the results are impressive. I mean, one hen can lay 293 eggs in one year. Wow.

 Can crossing  the 300-eggs-a-year threshold be far off? I bet not. And I’m guessing that South Dakota hens will be the first to hit 300.

Rob Swenson is the editor of the Sioux Falls Business Journal. He can be reached at