Farm Progress

SDSU and NDSU Extension Services provide ideas and recommendations for managing crops and livestock during drought.

July 19, 2017

2 Min Read
DROUGHT ANSWERS: As the drought deepens in Dakotas, more crop and livestock management questions come up.Taglass/iStock/Thinkstock

Have you got all your bases covered when it comes to managing your way through a severe drought?

Have you considered the tax implications? Do you know what aid is available? How livestock insurance works? Is there something more you could do to hang on to your best beef cows, or stretch your feed a little further?

And what about crops: Are spider mites going to be a bigger problem in drought-stressed soybeans? What are the best alternative forages? How do you ensile a poorly pollinated corn crop?

Dakota Farmer has compiled a list of the top North State University and South Dakota State University Extension Service articles about drought survival. It includes:

Failing to plan for drought is planning to fail. NDSU Extension specialists offer livestock producers suggestions for dealing with drought.

Should drought-stressed alfalfa be clipped? Clipping drought-stressed alfalfa will not help it regrow faster when rainfall or moisture come back.

Tax implications for forced sales of livestock due to drought. Livestock producers who are forced to sell livestock due to drought conditions may receive special consideration for federal income tax reporting purposes.

Grouping cattle to be sold in drought. Drought is the concern this year, so sort cattle into groups that could be sold if necessary.

Livestock producers need stocking rate reduction plan. Producers should be proactive in case drought is a problem this year.

Dairy focus: Drought impacts feed costs and quality. Drought has created the largest-ever natural-disaster area in the U.S.

Livestock nitrate poisoning risk increases during drought. NDSU Extension specialists offer tips on preventing nitrate poisoning.

Haying, ensiling immature corn poses challenges. Nitrate levels are a concern when haying or ensiling corn.

Spider mites continue to cause problems in some fields. Spider mite feeding reduces the photosynthetic area of the leaves and heightens drought stress.

Dairy focus: Poor corn pollination affects quality. NDSU’s dairy specialist offers advice on feeding and storing poorly pollinated corn.

Recommendations for drought-stressed forages. With the continuing dry weather, a substantial amount of the corn crop may not be suitable for harvesting as grain this fall. The most practical way to harvest drought-stressed corn is to harvest as corn silage.

Drought induced potassium deficiency. Foliar application of potassium can be problematic because when drought conditions occur, the plant leaf stomates (openings) tend to close for moisture conservation.

Feeding drought-stressed crops to cattle. Besides the impact on crop insurance, another factor that has to be considered during the process is the potential for nitrate toxicity.

Assessing drought-stressed corn. To a degree, corn can be fairly drought-tolerant. However, the critical time for moisture to be present is during the period two weeks before and after tasseling.

For more links, go to SDSU Extension’s website,, and NDSU Extension’s website, NDSU Ag News, and search for “drought.”

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