Lack of rainfall can impact wildlife habitats, food availability and quality in times of drought. Here are ways to take stock of conditions and try to help the populations on your ranch.
How you graze and supplement cattle during dry spells can have long-lasting economic and ecological effects on your ranch.
As painful as droughts can be, making a drought management plan can help your ranch emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side.
Take steps to manage the limited forage you have this fall and winter. The right choices not only sustain your operation, but also ensure the health of your rangeland long term.
The pitter-patter of raindrops on a roof is music to a rancher’s ears. Unfortunately, those moments have been few and far between in 2022. But all is not lost when it comes to growing forage for the winter.
Drought is a natural and regular event in grazing lands. A drought is a period of time when an area or region experiences below-normal precipitation.
Pasture managers may dread droughts. However, with proper planning and preparation, they can minimize the damage and keep operations running smoothly.
During and after drought, most producers try 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.
Cattle producers should be on the watch for two types of poisoning during drought conditions. The potential for nitrate and prussic acid poisoning of cattle grazing or eating hay or silage is most often associated with droughts. During dry periods, livestock owners should be taking precautions with their animals, including testing forages.
If your pond is low due to drought conditions, this might be the perfect time to renovate poor or marginal largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish populations or eliminate undesirable fish such as bullheads, common carp, warmouth and green sunfish. If your pond is dry, you will need to make plans to deepen it before stocking fish next spring when, hopefully, it’s full again.