Economists are calling this the worst drought since 1956. Consumers will soon be paying top-dollar for their groceries as the corn crop sizzles, and ranchers cull their cows as feed resources run short. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 55% of the country is in a moderate to extreme drought as of the end of June.
To assist cattlemen in managing through drought conditions and planning ahead as feed prices climb and pasture resources dwindle, BEEF editors have put together a Drought Management Resources page.
“The 2012 growing season started out promising, with an early planting season, good moisture, and some relief in last summer’s drought-ravaged Southwest. But Mother Nature had other plans and summer 2012 is shaping up to be a challenging one for Midwest crop growers and livestock producers in general. USDA reported in early July that half of all U.S. pastures are in poor or very poor condition. As pasture dwindles, cattle in some hard-hit areas are going to town, while other producers hope to buy time by feeding winter hay. Severe drought in the Midwest, which was forecast earlier this spring to produce a record crop, has played havoc with grain markets. The July 15 corn cash price (Omaha Basis) is near $7.50/bu., and soybean meal is up 36% over last year, while hay prices continue to post new highs.”
The page offers links to several resources including the U.S. Drought Monitor and the FSA Disaster Assistance Program, as well as some of our top reads on the drought. Check the page often as we will continue to update and add additional information to help you weather the drought.
How is the drought impacting your operation? What steps are you taking? Will you continue to feed your cattle or will you cull your herd?