Angus cattle in snowstormDrought conditions this summer can lead to a more challenging winter for cattle producers, so it’s recommended to start mapping out your feed strategy plan now. Feeding your herd through winter with limited or no stored forage adds weight to the worries currently facing livestock owners across the U.S. Critical steps to make it through the colder months after extreme drought conditions include:

• Reduce stocking rate to a level that can be sustained into the fall. Whether that means selling calves early or sending them to a feedlot, marketing calves in this capacity can reduce culling of the herd.
• Know how much hay you need daily and for the expected feeding period. Test your hay or other roughage to find the best balance between cost and nutrition.
• Plant warm-season annuals as a grazing crop in late summer to help bridge the gap in forage supplies.

These steps may be time-consuming, but for an operation to be profitable and intact, strategic effort leading into a tough winter is critical.

Read more on winter forage preparation here.