NDSU Extension - Williams County

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Drought and Winter Feed - February 1, 2018

County Agent Update

Danielle Steinhoff

 

Drought and Winter Feed

“The slow days of late gestation are eminent” Kris Ringwall, NDSU Beef Specialist at the Dickinson Research Extension Center stated in a recent article. This article is using information from BeefTalk: Why Push a Chain Up a Hill? And Odds Good for Drought Extending Into 2018 by Adnan Akyüz, state climatologist and NDSU professor.

Cows are look forward, trying to determine the perfect spot will be to give birth. Ringwall was driving by some pasture and had an eerie feeling go over him. The snow had thawed and what snow was left was blown aside, exposing the grassless soil surface among occasional nodes of grass. The sinking, scary feeling of drought returned. Akyüz stated “While coming into spring, we are as vulnerable as we get. The lack of snow is concerning in areas scarred by the worst drought to hit North Dakota since 2006, we do not have the access moisture we had last fall and winter, which was the ninth wettest September-through-February period on record”.

Last summer took a serious toll, leaving even fewer options this spring if rain fails. But Ringwall would rather be positive than negative and draw on what we know. Long-term, sustainable thinking means less inputs and more output. Drought-driven, sustainable managerial changes force producers to limit feed intake during the months that feed is short, keeping a delicate balance between hungry and content. Feed waste isn’t an option.

Think about it: Producers depend on the annual plant cycle, a cycle one cannot change, to grow and produce beef Plants have a growing season set by forces cattle producers do not control. When producers understand the development of a sustainable forage and plant world, they integrate beef production into that system.

If you are interested in reading the rest of these article, contact the NDSU Extension office in Williams County at 701-577-4595.

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