Compared with agronomy and cropping sciences, grazing and grassland production generally require less economic input. Thus, grazing management is often assumed to be an enterprise that requires less forethought and management. This assumption was challenged over the past year as grazing land managers were required to respond to a drought that still lingers in the southwest portion of the state. Those who were caught off guard were forced to make adjustments they may not have been prepared for, such as drastic reductions in herd numbers. Those that had a sound management plan may also have had to de-stock their herds, but their decisions were based on certain indicators and triggers that were pre-determined by their management plan.
Recently, SDSU Extension and others have encouraged producers to incorporate improved drought planning into grazing systems management. From January through May, we partnered with the National Drought Mitigation Center to offer a “Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch” webinar series to South Dakota producers at our Regional Extension Centers. During these sessions, producers were exposed to several drought tools and planning resources that are still easily accessible to all. These drought and ranch planning resources are listed below:
- National Drought Mitigation Center
- Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch: Webinar series recordings
- US Drought Monitoring Tool
- South Dakota NRCS Drought Tool
- Writing a Drought Plan
SDSU Extension will continue to serve our grassland producers over the next several months, working with partner organizations to offer additional drought and grazing planning training opportunities. Stay tuned to iGrow and other sources for details on upcoming grazing planning opportunities.