Ag News and Views: October 2011
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the 2011 drought in the Southern Great Plains, many people are curious to know if conditions have affected deer populations and if there is anything to be done to mitigate potential effects.