Category Archives: drought

Drought declaration ruled out.

No-one has asked the Government to declare an adverse event – such as a drought – in any area of the country, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

Guy is visiting the Waikato today to see firsthand the challenging dry conditions facing the region’s farmers.

While some might have been expecting a drought to be declared, the minister was instead talking up predicted inclement weather.

Continue reading Drought declaration ruled out.

Drought seriously impacting rangeland, cattle.

The Bureau of Land Management has been tracking range conditions as the current drought lingers on.
Drought conditions across the West have impacted rangelands, leaving little water and forage for animals and livestock, prompting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to undertake targeted actions, such as providing supplemental water and food for wild horses; reducing grazing; and enacting fire restrictions.
Hot, dry conditions continue to persist west of the Mississippi River, with at least 15 states experiencing drought. For example, 93 percent of rangeland and pastures are rated poor or very poor in New Mexico; 59 percent in Colorado; 35 percent in Wyoming; and 17 percent in Utah. Similar conditions exist in Nevada, where more than 60 percent of the state has been in severe or extreme drought conditions since the beginning of 2013.
“Since last fall and winter, we have been working with grazers across the West in anticipation of tough conditions related to drought. In southwestern Montana, for example, the BLM worked with permitted ranchers to graze no more than 70 percent of their alloted forage on BLM-managed lands,” said BLM Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze. “As drought conditions continue, wild horses, livestock, and wildlife that rely on rangeland forage and water will face extremely challenging conditions that may leave them in very poor condition. We are taking action to address these situations as quickly and as effectively as we can, but our options are increasingly limited by conditions on the land.”
In Nevada, all BLM Districts have been hauling water to wild horses. There, the BLM is trucking 5,000 gallons of water per day, five days a week to four separate locations throughout the Winnemucca District at a cost of $1,000 per day.
In the next few days, a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service veterinarian will join BLM specialists in assessing horses in Lincoln County, Nev., after BLM employees noted that horses were not drinking water from trucked-in troughs and were not eating supplemental hay. This raised concerns about the health of the animals.
Over the past week in Nevada, average temperatures have been 10 degrees above normal, hovering around 100 degrees. The state has recently had only 0.1 to 0.5 inches of rain, resulting in sparse, poor-quality forage. In addition, scarce water sources have put pressure on all users, including wild horses, livestock, and wildlife; causing long-lasting damage to plants, stream channels, spring areas, and water quality

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Tips For Cattle Management Especially In Drought.

Early weaning of calves is a common drought management practice. Removing
calves from cows at approximately 300 pounds or 75 days of age decreases cow
nutritional requirements and gives producers the ability to stretch limited
forage resources. Drought conditions in 2011 are forcing producers to wean
calves early; many of which have already marketed at auction. Supply and
demand principles are in evidence as an increased supply of calves is
decreasing market price. Noble Foundation consultants suggest that early
weaning and preconditioning calves for at least 45 days can still result in
profit. During preconditioning, calves are vaccinated, de-horned, bull
calves are castrated, and all calves are fed for an additional 45 days
post-weaning. Calculate your cost of preconditioning prior to retaining
ownership of calves. For help with budgeting or developing a feeding program
for preconditioned calves, please see Optimizing Weaned Calf Value or call
your Noble Foundation consultant.

Cull cattle

Sell all open, old or injured cows. It is not economical to maintain these
females – particularly when resources such as pasture, feed and hay are
costly and in short supply. The immediate advantage to removing animals from
the herd is that grazing pressure on pastures will be decreased and less
money will be spent on supplemental feed. Additionally, cull cow prices have
remained relatively strong. Selling cull cows now can provide immediate
assistance for producers who are in a difficult cash flow situation.

Drought may also provide the opportunity to make improvements to your cow
herd. Consider tightening up your calving season by selling late calving
cows. Calves born later in the calving season are typically lighter weight
at weaning and less uniform than the calves born earlier in the calving
season. Cull cow marketing reports are available through the Agricultural
Marketing Service.

Evaluate cow herd liquidation costs

Many producers may be tempted to liquidate the cow herd during persistent
drought conditions. However, before selling the herd, compare the cost of
maintaining a cow through the drought and winter months to the cost of
purchasing replacement females next spring. To do so, calculate the cost of
feed and hay on a per-cow basis from now until spring. Add this feed cost to
the current value of cows sold. If the sum of feed cost and cow value is
greater than the cost of buying cattle next spring, then liquidate the cow
herd now and take advantage of tax benefits associated with drought-related
sales. If you decide to maintain ownership of the cow herd, be prepared to
maintain cow numbers for approximately six to eight months. It is not
advantageous to begin feeding cattle through the drought only to sell them
in the fall at seasonally low prices.

Plan ahead

Have a livestock management plan ready for the next step. Consider what you
will do if you run out of pond water or if a well goes dry. Is it an option
to fertilize bermudagrass this fall or plant ryegrass? Think about potential
situations and solutions, and prepare now. Those that plan ahead and are
prepared to act quickly will have the best results

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