Hereford cattleRanchers in the northern Plains are making plans now to support their grazing animals through what’s widely expected to be a growing season with output shortened sharply by continued drought. Summer forage production could be cut by as much as two thirds, one expert said recently, and that’s a call to be ready to supplement pasture or forage stocks with other feed sources and be mindful of the dryness in managing rotational grazing systems. Ranchers can also employ cool- or warm-season annual forages to help ease the shortfall. If you plan on adding cool-season annuals like oats, spring barley or annual ryegrass, the planting time is now. There are other ways to manage herd numbers, actively selling cows, for example, to ease the financial burden of the drought with the intention of buying back later on once grazing season has drawn to a close. See more on what you can do to support your herd if you’re weathering drought.