Ongoing Drought Is A See-Saw for Central Plains & Cattle Producers

The latest drought monitor was just released this morning and conditions seem to be getting even worse.

High pressure dominated most of central U.S. over the past week, bringing below normal temperatures to the eastern Rockies and Mississippi Valley. Where temperatures were above freezing, there was hardly any precipitation, which made matters worse across the Great Plains and specifically in California. A series of low pressure storms moved across the southern and eastern U.S., and northern Florida received the greatest amount of rainfall, with five to 10 inches.

Early topsoil moisture numbers reveal the severity of the drought in the Central Plains. USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey details the situation.

“Of the reporting states coming in, Texas leads 81% top soil moisture rated very short to short on March 13th. Kansas not far behind at 72% and Oklahoma at 62%.”

Rippey says the most dire conditions are really focused in the western portions of those states.

Hot, dry weather can be good for cattle production by decreasing fly populations. A cattle nutritionist says flies are not just a nuisance, they can eat away your bottom line and quickly.

“It’s the #1 economic threat, about $1 billion in damage a year is done by that horn fly alone. And so, what we would recommend is a product called Altosid that you’re feeding. When that horn fly goes and lays its eggs in manure it prevents them from becoming an adult.”

Upton adds when your cattle are on pasture, you can usually get good control from on treatment.


Look out for these three pests in drought areas

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