Mitigating Drought Challenges: How early weaning could help

Early weaning in your herd could help you mitigate the ongoing drought.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension says through early weaning, studies show a 10 percent increase in marbling development and an uptick in food efficiency by 5 percent. This could be a good alternative to culling the herd due to lack of forage supplies, because when calves are being taken off the cow, her nutritional requirements decline, meaning she eats less grass and hay.

Early weaning may be a good practice for producers in Oklahoma, as forage and water supplies are limited from the ongoing drought.

As you can see on the latest drought monitor, more than 80 percent of the state remains in some level of drought, with the majority covered in severe to extreme levels.

Due to those conditions, total hay production in Oklahoma was down 26 percent on the year, which is the lowest level recorded since 2012. The final crop production report for 2022 showed 80 percent of pasture and ranges in the state were rated poor to very poor. To top it all off, livestock water in ponds is low in the majority of the state due to lack of rainfall. In turn, this has led to a 11 percent drop in Oklahoma’s total cattle inventory.

Agriculture Shows
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.
How do you narrow down the best-of-the-best “Texas Country Reporter” episodes across 50 seasons and hundreds of episodes? We didn’t know where to start! Instead, we turned to the expert—TCR host Bob Phillips himself—for help with this special collection of episodes, “TCR Classics: Bob’s Picks.”
Journey into lives of two hard-working farm families to see the risks, rewards, and funny shenanigans that take place every day. From cat-fishing and watermelon smashing and pig chasing and go-cart racing—there is never a dull moment on these family farms. We’ll also get a modern look at the newest cutting-edge farming techniques that are revolutionizing the industry and providing a greener and more sustainable way to grow.
Honest conversation about agriculture’s biggest issues: technology, policy, labor, etc. Nothing is off-limits.