Ag News and Views: August 2011
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The drought of 2011 is turning out to be one of the worst on record. Most Texas and Oklahoma producers are looking for things that they can do to save what little forage they have and to conserve the amount of hay and feed they will need until green-up next spring.
Fertilizer prices are high and we are suffering severe drought conditions. Why would anyone consider fertilizing bermudagrass or other warm-season grasses now? There are good reasons to consider a late summer or early fall fertilization program, namely to extend the grazing season and improve the quality of available forage.
Purchased feed represents the greatest portion of variable costs for cow-calf producers according to the Kansas Farm Management Association. From the middle of June 2010 to the middle of June 2011, the price of corn more than doubled. During the same period, soybean prices increased nearly 50 percent.
Landowners are often tempted to take advantage of droughts by deepening or enlarging existing ponds when water levels drop low enough or when ponds dry up completely. This can be an opportunity to increase water supply for fisheries and livestock, but certain factors should be considered before spending money and time deepening or enlarging a pond.
Beginning in the fall of 2010 and stretching throughout 2011, farmers and ranchers in the Southern Great Plains have endured one of the worst droughts since the Dust Bowl.