This question developed during a farm visit while discussing fence line contrast of rangeland between a property that had been well managed for years and a neighboring property. Our objective was to evaluate rangeland health of forage for cattle and sheep, and wildlife habitat following the impacts of 2011 - drought and wildfire.
So far 2012 has been a better year climate-wise than 2011. However, the full impact of the 2011 drought on warm-season forages was not fully realized until the early spring and summer of 2012.
Cattle producers in the Southern Great Plains had to reduce cow numbers in 2011 due to the most severe drought in decades. Replacement cow prices are at an all-time high in 2012, and most pastures are still in poor condition, making it difficult for many producers to restock to former levels.
Limited rainfall and record heat forced the liquidation of livestock, the likes of which most of us have never seen in our lifetimes. Only the most astute land managers will recover quickly, while the majority will experience lasting effects. It may take as many as three to five years for some to fully recover and that is only if we see good years along the way.
Drought can be defined simply as 75 percent of normal precipitation with the normal being based on a 30-year average. It can be further defined as long term, lasting for several months, or short...
It is hard to believe that summer is almost upon us. This has the potential to be a heavy pecan crop year, if the drought has not hurt things too badly. To ensure a good crop, many management decisions need to be considered over the next few months, including proper fertilization and insect and disease control.
As we prepare for fertilizer application this spring, two important questions come to mind: what happened to fertilizer I applied last year and do we need to fertilize or not?
With the challenges of the drought, the beef cow inventory declined 3.1 percent for an annual inventory of 2011 and prospects for further decline are evident unless changes occur in cow slaughter and heifer retention. With this decline, the 2012 U.S. calf crop stands at 35 million head, the lowest in 60 years.
The drought of 2011 will likely have negative impacts on our pastures that could last for years to come. In addition, the more your pastures were stressed and overgrazed, the longer it will take them...
Most producers are trying to survive the winter by stretching forage and feed resources. This can be accomplished with careful thought and consultation with a nutritionist to ensure that each cow's nutrient requirements are still being met for the stage of production it is in. If corners are cut to save money now, it can have long lasting repercussions.