Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
July 29, 1999

Dry Pastures Means Less Gain

The extended dry conditions have reduced the growth potential for many of the grazing areas throughout a major portion of the United States. These dry conditions not only influence the present grazing conditions but also have a prolonged effect on grazing management for several years in the future.

Presently there is little one can do to promote the growth of forages when moisture in short supply. One individual stated to me that they had sent in a sample of water and the results indicated it was only 75% moisture! We are probably not that bad yet, but the intense heat is having a detrimental effect on all crop and forage production.

This is one time that a livestock producer needs to analyze each individual animal for their production ability and rank each individual of the entire herd for culling purposes. If the present environmental conditions continue for an extended period of time it will become very evident that management adjustments must be made.

Using some form of supplementation is a possibility for many producers. This may be providing green chop of some type or supplementing by hand feeding either on a daily basis or three to four days per week. The addition of 2 to 4 pounds of co-products, grain, or a combination of these will assist greatly with the dry environmental conditions we currently are experiencing.

One major concern for managing forages that have been eaten into the ground is the invasion of weeds and brush. Competition is one management tool that is an effective way of controlling the invasion of undesirable plant growth. When there is no forage competition, the growth and number of these undesirable plants seem to explode the following year. This is why it is so important to manage forages under drought-stressed conditions to provide the opportunity for regrowth the following year. This may mean the application of some form of fertilizer to jump-start the growth of these forages when we receive moisture.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - July 29, 1999
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT072999.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004