It looks like South Dakota might be heading for a substantial drought in the coming months. Officials remind producers to keep steps in place to protect their property.
South Dakota State University Extension members are asking cattle producers to revisit their drought plan. This refers to management steps taken if the area doesn’t receive enough precipitation. The plan also includes past precipitation numbers and what is needed to sustain livestock.
If drought conditions persist in the area, officials say producers need to take the necessary steps. This could include planting new grass, waiting to turn cattle out to pasture or even selling some of the herd.
Sean Kelly is Extension range and field specialist. He says drought plans protect the livestock and the environment.
“Well really what can happen is you can totally degrade your natural resource out there which is your grass. You know that’s kind of your main foundation for the entire ranch especially in western and central South Dakota. You know that old rule of thumb; take half, leave half when you get into a dry condition; that starts to happen pretty quickly especially if you don’t get much growth in the spring. And so really these drought plans are here to protect that resource, so you don’t degrade it any further during a drought,” says Kelly.
Kelly says drought is expected to hit western South Dakota and perhaps some eastern areas. He says, once a drought plan is drafted, it's important to stick to it.