Drought situation getting close to dire for SD cattle producers

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Drought situation getting close to dire for SD cattle producers

The president of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association says the drought situation is getting close to dire for cattle producers in his state.

Eric Jennings says a lot of replacement heifer calves were sold early, in April and May, and while producers are trying to hold on as long as they can, the culling has expanded. The percent of heifers sold each week in SD has been on the rise. 

“The pairs that we’re seeing coming right now – we’re kind of into that three to eight-year-old category of cows. So, those are cows they sure didn’t want to sell but they recognize that they’re going to have to go.”

He says feeding cattle has become a struggle with 50% of the cow-calf range in some form of drought and if the situation doesn’t ease, he tells Brownfield Ag News,“The hope is that eastern South Dakota will be able to grow enough feed that we can maybe send some cows out to there but they’re wondering what to do too.” He says he hasn’t talk to anybody north of I-90 who thought they were going to get a hay crop.

Jennings says there’s some leftover hay from 2019 but not a lot. And the corn price is very high.

“We feed a lot of distillers grains in South Dakota to supplement cows on some poorer quality feed and those are probably going to be pretty  high.”

He says the drought in South Dakota started last year and he’s also very concerned about getting water to his cows on pasture as the heat continues.

Interview with Eric Jennings