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Drought requires immediate action; resources available

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Posted Feb. 16, 2018

ARDMORE, Okla. — Farmers and ranchers in the Southern Great Plains are in a drought with conditions worsening since November.

While the drought affects many of the contiguous states, the states experiencing the worst conditions are Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and Kansas. According to the current United States Drought Monitor, the entire state of Oklahoma is in at least a severe drought; more than 80 percent of the state is considered either in a severe or extreme drought. South of the Red River, 90 percent of Texas is in some level of drought, from abnormally dry to extreme drought.

"Producers need to have contingency plans in place now to help decision-making easier as we move through the spring," says Hugh Aljoe, director of producer relations. "Even with rain in the short-term forecast, we are expecting the conditions to worsen through the spring."

Noble agricultural consultants advise producers to immediately assess water and forage sources. Farmers and ranchers should match expected forage production and water quantity with animal demand, which may lead to destocking of cattle herds.

As drought conditions continue, farmers and ranchers should consider taking immediate steps, such as buying hay while it is still available and culling cows, to help mitigate further impacts to their operations. Historically, cattle prices decline and supplemental feed costs increase the longer a drought persists.

"It is important that farmers and ranchers gather their information and take steps as soon as possible," Aljoe said. "Keeping close records and knowing production costs is important in making timely and effective management decisions."

For up-to-date drought management information, the Noble Research Institute has developed a special web page (noble.org/drought) to serve as a central source for resources to assist agricultural producers throughout this difficult situation. Timely management tips will also be provided on the organization's social media channels.

Photos
drought field
farmer drives tractor in a field

Farmers and ranchers should match expected forage production and water quantity with animal demand, which may lead to destocking of cattle herds. As drought conditions continue, farmers and ranchers should consider taking immediate steps, such as buying hay while it is still available and culling cows, to help mitigate further impacts to their operations.

Noble Research Institute, LLC (www.noble.org) is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Noble’s goal is to achieve regenerative land stewardship in grazing animal production with producer profitability. Achievement of this goal will be measured by farmers and ranchers profitably regenerating hundreds of millions of acres of U.S. grazing lands. Noble aims to remove, mitigate or help producers avoid the barriers that deter the lasting use of regenerative, profitable land management practices in grazing animal production.

Researchers, consultants, educators and ranch staff work together to give farmers and ranchers the skills and tools to regenerate the land in a profitable manner. Noble researchers and educators seek and deliver answers to producer questions concerning regenerative management of pasture and range environments, wildlife, pecan production, and livestock production. Regenerative management recognizes that each decision made on the ranch impacts the interactions of the soil, plants, water, animals and producers. Noble’s 14,000 acres of working ranch lands provide a living laboratory on which to demonstrate and practice regenerative principles and ideas to deliver value to farmers and ranchers across the U.S.

For media inquiries concerning the Noble Research Institute, please contact:
J. Adam Calaway, Director of Communications and Public Relations
580-224-6209 | 580-224-6208 fax

Ryan McNeill, Digital Marketing Manager | 580-224-6364

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