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Drought Planning

It is not a matter of if a drought occurs, but when. View our drought planning resources to help develop your drought management plan to ensure that your operation is able to weather whatever mother nature throws at it.

All Drought Planning Content

Group of mixed cattle grazing drought-stressed pasture.

SDSU Extension Provides Drought Management Resources

June 08, 2022

The U.S. Drought Monitor continues to classify parts of South Dakota in some level of drought. SDSU Extension has a variety of tools and resources to assist producers with drought decision making.

Cattle grazing rangeland divided by a fence for rotational grazing.

Reading the Range: Range readiness, grazing timing and drought considerations

Grazing timing is key when managing rangelands during a drought. Learn how to determine grazing readiness for different plant communities found throughout pastures and rangelands.

A herd of cattle grazing near a pond on an open range.

Ranch Drought Planning

Fact sheet with general drought planning tips from the range and natural resource perspective.

Lone sheep grazing drought-stressed rangeland.

Drought Considerations for Grazing Range Flocks

Having a drought plan in place to best manage pastures is critical in being prepared for next year’s grazing season. Make decisions that will manage risk and promote both flock and financial longevity.

Color-coded drought monitor map of South Dakota. As of March 22, northwest to southeast South Dakota are facing severe drought to abnormally dry conditions, while the northeast is under normal conditions.

Agronomic Considerations for Moisture Deficit Conditions

The current soil moisture stress in South Dakota could be more pronounced than we have seen in last few years. If this continues, cropping decisions may need to be adjusted for the upcoming growing season.

Several bales of hay stacked in a shed.

Planning Forage Needs

Inventorying and planning for hay and other forage feed needs is essential every year, especially when production is uncertain due to drought or excess moisture.

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.

Two black angus cows with calf in a dry pasture.

Managing For Annual Swings in Forage Production

Being able to adapt your stocking rate and grazing intensity to fit forage conditions provides you with tangible management actions you can take to protect your pastures from overgrazing in any year.

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.

Group of black cattle near a stock dam that’s drying up under drought conditions.

Drought Planning

A drought plan will be an essential component to your overall grazing plan, as it provides guidance in making decisions during critical times when forage may be lacking.