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herd of cattle in a muddy feedlot with serious flooding. FEMA News Photo

Dealing With Spring Mud and Flooding

As the snow melts, we are going to be left to deal with mud at a minimum and extensive flooding as a possible worst-case scenario. While we can’t control the pace of melting or the possibility of additional precipitation, we may be able to take a few steps to mitigate the negative impacts.

A dog in the cab of a pickup truck as rain falls.

Preparing to Keep Pets Safe and Healthy During Flood Conditions

As is the case with providing for the care of livestock and other large animals during flooding, a little forward planning for the care of pets can really pay off when considering the disruptions that spring flooding can bring.

a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.

Two leaves of corn, one showing signs of Southern Rust, the other with Common Rust.

Southern Rust Developing Late in Corn

Southern rust was found in a few corn fields scouted last week. This rust is developing very late in the season and therefore its impact on corn yield will be minimal.

A group of brown cattle foraging in a green field.

Prussic Acid Poisoning

As the first frost date approaches, producers often have concerns about the risk of prussic acid poisoning in livestock. Certain forage plants, especially sorghums and related species are associated with an increased risk of death loss because of prussic acid poisoning.

A herd of sheep foraging on leafy spurge in a grassland.

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

A patch of western wheatgrass with ergot fungus growing throughout.

Ergot in Western Wheatgrass and the Potential Effects for Winter Grazing

2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.

Gibberella ear rot and Fusarium spp. symptoms on two corn ears.

Gibberella and Fusarium Ear Rots Developing in Corn

Corn ear rots are one of the last diseases to scout for in the corn growing season, and sometimes they are ignored or forgotten entirely. Ear rots can cause yield loss in the form of grain quality at harvest, but also cause losses during storage.

Outside entrance to a large-animal veterinary clinic.

COVID-19 and Livestock: Is there a connection?

When reports of the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the US, very few people had likely heard of coronaviruses—with some notable exceptions: cattle producers and their veterinarians.

A South Dakota Mesonet station in a snow-covered field.

SDSU Extension and South Dakota Mesonet team up to release the Livestock Stress Tool

November 18, 2021

Weather conditions in the Northern Plains can present many challenges for livestock producers. Farmers and ranchers need to be prepared for rapidly changing conditions to provide the best care for their livestock and minimize their risk of losses.