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Beef Buzz News


Drought puts Ranchers in Tricky Situation Managing Feed this Spring - Derrell Peel Offers His Advice

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 10:46:30 CDT

Drought puts Ranchers in Tricky Situation Managing Feed this Spring - Derrell Peel Offers His Advice Areas in Oklahoma that have received rain recently have managed to bust out of the drought conditions that have choked the land for months now. However, there is still a large portion of the state still under those dry conditions which continue to worsen every day without precipitation. It is a situation that according to Extension Livestock Market Economist Derrell Peel, is becoming increasing more concerning to producers across the state. He told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that if this pattern of dryness doesn’t break soon, farmers and ranchers in these areas may be in a situation that forces them to make some tough decisions.


“I think an early onset drought is a particularly big challenge for producers,” he said. “We certainly experienced that in 2011 in the Southern Plains when we had a similar situation. There is a couple of reasons for that.”


One, he says, is just the timing. As producers come out of winter with depleted forage supplies, they typically are relying on new forage growth around this time to see them through. Without that early spring growth, Peel says the management situation can turn very severe very quickly. The other challenge, he adds, is that a lot of these spring-calving cow herds with calves on the ground, are at their highest point of nutritional requirements for the year while the producer is trying to scrimp and stretch their remaining feed inventory. Holding back could potentially negatively impact your herd with subsequent reproductive performance issues.


“It’s just a really tricky time when you have to deal with a drought in the first half of the year,” Peel sympathized. “If you can hang on until those calves get a little bit older, your best bet probably for these spring calving herds, will be looking at early weaning. Get those calves out of there and reduce the cows’ nutritional requirements then it may be more feasible to kind of limp them along and get by until things hopefully improve at some point.”


The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.




   




   

Listen to Derrell Peel offer his advice to producers on how to weather drought conditions this spring
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