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A color-coded precipitation probability map of the United States. The majority of South Dakota is predicted to have wetter than average precipitation, with the highest likelihood being in the southwest corner of the state. For a complete description, call SDSU Extension at 605-688-6729.

May 2020 Climate Outlook

On April 16, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released their climate outlook for May and the coming three-month period of May through July. There is a lot of uncertainty in the temperature outlook for the next one-to-three months in the Northern Plains Region.

A small black bug with tan margins on the wings. This insect is resting on a grass seed head.

Drought Conditions Magnifying Impact of Black Grass Bugs

With much of South Dakota continuing to experience moderate-to-extreme drought conditions, black grass bugs could become a concern in some areas. Large populations of black grass bugs can cause severe damage to pasture.

Herd of black-beef cattle being moved in drought-stressed rangeland.

Trigger Dates: Critical Decisions for Drought Management

Having a drought plan in place ensures that you can overcome the inhibitions surrounding a drought response, the basis of which is figuring out trigger dates.

hereford beef cattle drinking at dam during drought.

Hot Days Ahead and the Need for Water

Hot summer days are still ahead, and we need to account for water. The amount of water a cow requires varies depending on a variety of factors, including environmental temperature, lactation status and weight.

Winter wheat field with extreme soil erosion due to drought.

Impacts of Drought on Soil, Water, Forage and Livestock Grazing Systems

Grazing systems are complex, because soil, water, forage and livestock components are interconnected and affect each other. Producers can put themselves back in the driver’s seat by developing annual systems-level grazing plans for favorable and unfavorable situations.

Hereford heifers feeding from trough during drought.

Livestock Tools for Managing Through Drought

As drought conditions continue, ranchers are faced with making some difficult decisions. South Dakota State University Extension offers multiple tools and resources that can be used to help make the best management decisions for your operation.

A green cut alfalfa field dries as the sun sets.

Forage Resources for South Dakota Farmers and Ranchers

Producers often have difficulties locating fellow producers to buy, sell or rent forages and grazing acres too. South Dakota now has two widely recognized, free resources to aid in these connections.

Cattle feeding on supplemental forage distributed on winter range.

Winter Cow Supplementation and Cold Stress

Extreme winter weather makes it challenging to meet a cow’s nutrient requirements. With below-normal temperatures come challenges of ensuring adequate nutrition and protection for livestock, including being prepared to provide additional feed and shelter.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map for South Dakota as of February 4, 2021. Courtesy: U.S. Drought Monitor

Understanding Drought: Information and Current Status

Producers can proactively manage drought impacts by staying up-to-date on current drought status through the United States Drought Monitor website. Weekly updates for South Dakota are posted each Thursday and allow producers to make proactive management decisions.

Field with field peas and blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Production and Utilization of Field Peas in South Dakota

Guide to field pea production and utilization in South Dakota