Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back talking with Oklahoma State University Extension Specialist for Rangeland and Ecology, Dr. Laura Goodman, about factors to consider when developing a plan for drought.
“If we can come up with our plans before we are in this state, that is ideal,” Goodman said. “Figuring out who we are going to cull and who we are going to keep.”
Having some variety in your herd, Goodman said, and not just running cattle is a good strategy for years when there is not adequate forage.
“Another option we are looking at is using multi-species grazing, so mixing goats in pastures with our cattle, and that kind of provides a two-fold benefit that we can use some of the woody plants that stay green during drought for much longer,” Goodman said.
Goats are profitable, Goodman said, and the five-year average for 40 to 60-pound kids is $2.80 per pound. There are many producers who want to integrate goats into their operation but face many questions such as how to deal with parasites, predators, fencing, and more, Goodman added, so OSU Extension can help answer these questions.
“There were a lot of folks thinking about starting this before we ever started talking about it and I think they knew well before we ever started saying anything that this might be a profitable way to manage their land and instead of having to pay for that woody plant control, they are getting something from it and having kids to sell,” Goodman said.
OSU extension research uses livestock guardian dogs such as the Akbash and Anatolian breeds to help protect their goats.
“They are an awesome investment,” Goodman said. “It is an investment, but they pay for themselves. They have really done a great job of protecting those nannies, our mamas, our does, and our kidding on pasture.”
For cattle producers trying to navigate the drought, Goodman said for those who have already sold quite a few animals, to start thinking about a restocking approach for when the drought is over.
“I think we can learn a lot from the 2011 and 2012 drought because it looks like things are going to be fairly similar and prices are going to be high again after we are out of this,” Goodman said. “Also just long term- trying to think about strategies for stockpiling so that you don’t have to destock to the same degree, and also just having flexibility in the number of animals that are on your pastures as much as possible.”
Goodman talked about a new tool called the Rangeland Analysis Platform, which is a webpage producers can visit to outline their pastures and identify where they are at relative to how much forage they normally produce. The webpage is free, Goodman added, and it is a great tool for those trying to make culling or restocking decisions.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and Laura Goodman talk about drought strategy.
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