Even with the rains during the fall of 2011, much of Oklahoma and Texas is still under drought advisories. Long-term forecasts are not promising for abundant rainfall during the spring or summer of 2012.
The drought of 2011 will not soon be forgotten. It's been a year of record low rainfall and record high temperatures.
The Noble Research Institute offers assistance, continues research for drought-stricken Southern Great Plains.
As we manage the cow herd into the fall and through the winter, our primary focus should be on health and nutrition. These two areas of management determine reproductive performance, which is the number one factor that affects profitability.
As if to add insult to injury, drought conditions make weed control even more challenging and important than usual. Weeds compete for light, nutrients, space and, most importantly during a drought, water.
During times of drought, water quantity is an obvious concern to livestock producers. Livestock consume water daily, but evaporation is the primary means of water loss from earthen impoundments.
Exceptional drought robbed pasture and range managers of the 2011 forage production they were counting on to get to the traditional winter feeding period. Thus, many are left trying to feed their way through this drought or destock to better match forage demand to forage availability.
With the drought-induced import of vast quantities of hay into Oklahoma and Texas from neighboring states and beyond, there is a risk that invasive weeds will be brought in with that hay.
Timing is critical for effective weed control using herbicides. Although there aren't enough hours in the day for them to cover all the acres that need to be sprayed each spring and summer.
In most years, winter pasture would be planted by Sept. 1 and some fields would be turning green at the start of October. However, throughout southern Oklahoma and northern Texas in 2011, this may not be the case because of the drought.