Given Drought, Manage Cattle Feed Supply Now

US - North Carolina is still under severe drought conditions, and the feed supply is already getting very tight.
calendar icon 2 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
Henderson County is no exception, with the current drought rated as exceptional, which is the most severe rating on the drought monitor. The growing season started with a late freeze which damaged many forage crops, and then the weather turned dry which further hurt pasture and hay production. Livestock owners were forced to graze pasture that may have been held back for winter grazing, putting them at an even greater loss this winter.

Henderson County currently has an estimated 6,300 head of cattle. This number includes beef cows, dairy cows, calves, and replacement cattle. While this number may seem low, it still requires a lot of feed to get these animals through the winter. When we add a large population of horses, as well as sheep and goats, we can see that the feed and hay shortage has an impact on a large population in Henderson County.

We normally are blessed with adequate moisture and a mild climate, making for good forage production and potential for year-round grazing. However, due to our normally good grazing conditions we also have high stocking rates, and that makes us vulnerable to drought. Summer feeding depleted winter feed supplies and producers are struggling to find enough feed to last until spring. To reduce feed demand, many cows and other livestock have been sold to places with available forage such as Texas and Oklahoma. Despite herd reductions, a severe feed shortage remains.

A number of programs exist to help producers locate and bring hay in from out of state, and/or to help them find other local alternative feeds. Cooperative Extension can explain to you the details of these programs, and refer you to many sources of additional helpful information.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.