Feed Alternatives When Drought Puts a Halt to Forage Production

This week's report on forage and drought conditions in North Dakota provides some good information for everyone suffering from drought conditions, and that includes a large swath of the United States this year. Nearly 10% of the contiguous U.S. is now in "exceptional drought," the highest for that designation since 2011. Soil moisture conditions continue to decline as well. Just over half of the country soil's are considered to have "adequate" soil moisture, while 38% of the country is experiencing soil moisture conditions in the "short to very short" categories. Finally, here's a look at the health of vegetation from March 5 to May 28, 2021. This is an Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) depicts the level of evapotranspiration, or how much and how quickly water is evaporating from the land surface and from the leaves of plants. Measuring evapotranspiration is useful because negative levels can indicate that plants are facing stress even if leaves have not yet wilted or turned brown. This map shows us that plants are having a hard time in many places right now. Though localized rain has improved conditions in some areas, a move from extreme drought to severe drought may not make a huge difference to forage production. As Miranda Meehan, North Dakota State University Extension (NDSU) livestock environmental stewardship specialist says, "Unfortunately, the window for forage production is closing." Like North Dakota, the plains and rangelands of the west are domi

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One thought on “Feed Alternatives When Drought Puts a Halt to Forage Production

  1. Just joined the group and already learned some stuff so glad I found you

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