Making Destocking Decisions During Dry Spells and Drought

Imagine it's the end of June and it hasn't rained in awhile.  Your region is well below the average annual rainfall and it's hard to say when the skies might open and give your pasture a little relief.  Your livestock are grazing along, not a worry in the world, because it's your job to figure out what comes next.  Prices are still up, and you could reduce your herd.  But you've spent years, maybe even a lifetime putting a herd together that fits you and the environment you work in.  As Lynn Meyers, a Nebraska rancher who faced this scenario, says, destocking part of the herd is "like losing one of the family."  How will you decide what to do? It's a lot easier to make a decision if you make a plan now.  Here are some suggestions for doing that to help you be as successful as you can be in times of drought. Step One:  Look at your herd and divide the animals into three groups on paper. Group A is made up of your most profitable cows and yearling heifers that have a lot of potential value. Group B includes your replacement heifers and steers that need a few more pounds so they can hit a good market niche. Group C is all the remaining animals that could be sold tomorrow if forage gets short:  early weaned calves, yearling steers, older cows and cows with poorer genetics. It's important to put this on paper now when you have time to thin

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