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Drought: Livestock

All Drought: Livestock Content

Supplementing Cows on Pasture to Stretch Forage Supplies

With dry conditions spreading quickly across the Dakota’s, producers are forced to make challenging decisions on how many cow/calf pairs to turn out to pasture, and then determine how long the pastures will even last if moisture doesn’t come soon. During the spring/summer months, supplementing grass with energy and protein can decrease forage dry matter consumption.

small group of cattle at hay feeder

Herd Management: Keep or Cull During a Drought?

Drought forces unexpected changes so it’s critical to have a strategy to keep only the “right” females that will benefit the operation.

small group of cattle grazing in dry pasture

Importance of Pregnancy Detection During a Dry Year

With weaning wrapping up, pregnant cows should be identified and turned back out to pasture or crop residue. By removing open or even late cows from the herd, valuable feed resources are saved if drought conditions continue.

Color-coded drought monitor map of South Dakota. As of May 20, Northwest South Dakota is facing extreme drought, while the rest of the state is under abnormally dry to severe drought conditions. A Small portion of the northeast has adequate moisture.


Stay ahead of drought impacts with SDSU Extension's timely climate updates, business insights and research-tested management tips.

an image of outdoor weather monitoring equipment in a field

Climate and Weather

View resources to predict, prepare and recover from weather-related events year-round, including the latest drought and flood information.

silage truck dispensing feed to dairy cattle at feed bunk

Mycotoxin Considerations for Weather-Damaged Feedstuffs

Whether your crops have been hit with drought or hail the odds are that we are going to see an increase potential for feed contaminants such nitrates or molds which cause mycotoxins.

Skidloader outside being used to turn compost pile.

Guidelines for Livestock Carcass Disposal in South Dakota

Everyone who works with animals tries their best to keep all animals alive. In turn, they also know there will always be normal mortality. Proper carcass disposal is crucial in preventing the spread of disease and protecting the environment.

Brown and white cow grazing on standing cornstalks

Considerations for Grazing Standing Corn

Grazing standing corn is a viable option to supply nutrients to livestock. However, mitigating risk is critical to ensure healthy animals and optimize crops.

Small group of cattle grazing near a sorghum field at sunset.

Prussic Acid Precautions

During periods of drought, it is important to aware of the factors that can be a concern during these conditions, specifically nitrates and prussic acid. It is important to take precautions when using feeds that could contain one or both compounds.

Color-coded map of the United States showing Precipitation outlook for October to December 2021. Odds are leaning towards drier than average conditions for most of South Dakota in the coming three months.

2021 Fall and Early Winter Climate Outlook

The latest monthly and seasonal climate outlooks were released Sept. 16, 2021 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. Forecasters are pointing towards a warmer than average October, with odds leaning towards drier conditions for the last few months of the year.