Dealing with Drought

Aug 15, 2022

The latest drought map came out this morning, parts of our trade area are now in D-2 drought. I know here around Milo we haven’t had measurable rain since mid-June. Pastures are basically shut down at this point and hay yields have been below average. Here are a few suggestions to help with the tough choices that need to be made this year.

The quickest way to give pasture some relief is by early weaning older calves. This takes mouths out of the pasture and will also decrease the nutritional needs of the cows. This is also the time to cull nonproducing cows. The remaining cows can be supplemented in the pasture. If you have plenty of hay, it might be as simple as setting bales out in the pasture. If hay supplies are tight, you can stretch your hay with grain. 1 pound of grain can replace 2-3 pounds of hay. cow cubes and tubs, are also available, both can be cost effective ways to supplement poor forage.

Corn chopping has begun this week around here. Keep in mind, drought stressed corn can come with nitrate issues. Chop high and get samples tested for nitrate content. This would be a good year to get samples of both silage and hay. With the cost of feed and hay this year, it is important to know what you are feeding. Samples will give us protein and energy so we can put a cost to it. In a year like this it is extra important we are getting the best results for the best value.

SFG has many supplement options for helping you through this dry weather. We also offer forage sampling, so you will know what you are feeding this winter. A little bit of money spent now on samples may save you hundreds in feed cost over the winter.  Contact Mike or myself, we can help you find a supplement to fit your operation, or come to your place and pull forage samples to send in.