Strategic Culling Vital During Drought


By Ellen Crawford, Bovine Veterinarian

April 26, 2021


Weather forecasts predict worsening drought conditions in the northern Great Plains for the 2021 growing season, which is bad news for cattle producers.


Many cattle operations will find themselves without enough forage and feedstuffs to maintain their current herd size.


“Unfortunately, often decisions are made more with emotion than logic during stressful times,” says Lisa Pederson, Extension livestock specialist at North Dakota State University’s Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter.


Producers have several strategies to manage herds with limited feed resources, including developing a culling plan.


“Operations that are more resilient to drought generally have a strong, well-developed culling strategy in place,” Pederson notes...





Is the US Facing a Megadrought?


Chris Campbell, The Food Institute

Apr 23, 2021


“Every moving thing lifted the dust into the air: a walking man lifted a thin layer as high as his waist, and a wagon lifted the dust as high as the fence tops, and an automobile boiled a cloud behind it.”


So opens The Grapes of Wrath, the 1939 novel written by John Steinbeck that in part deals with the effect of the Dust Bowl on the American economy. In 2021, U.S. farmers are staring down drought conditions which could profoundly affect their operations for the remainder of the year and, perhaps, for years to come.


Water Dries Up in Colorado River, Rio Grande


The water situation in the western half of the U.S. is concerning, to say the least. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released 24-month projections the week of April 11, finding the Colorado River would be drier than in typical years, reported CBS News (April 17).


The river is a major source of water for many regions in the U.S., and with less water running down from the Rocky Mountains, it appears unlikely that Lake Powel and Lake Mead will capture enough water to fully support businesses and citizens living nearby.


Meanwhile, the Rio Grande may go dry in 2021 for the first time in 30 years as federal water managers outlined a scenario with little rainfall, below-average snowpack, low soil moisture levels, and warm temperatures. The waterway is a major source of irrigation for thousands of square miles of farmland in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico, reported CBS News (April 15).


Federal Response ...


More than a Year-by-Year Problem ...


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