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.
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 likelihood of wildfires occurring increases during late fall and winter months due to dormant grass, fallen tree leaves and periods of high winds and low humidities.
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.