Dry conditions bring challenges providing feed, water for cattle

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Two consecutive years of drought conditions have made it difficult for cattle producers to provide feed for their animals, one extension specialist says a good water supply may also be hard to find.

High feed costs have been a pressing issue for the past two years as many cattle producers have liquidated their herds to reduce costs. Bob Kelly, Ag Business Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension Service, told KMAland a lack of water is the biggest problem affecting cattle producers and he’s not sure how they are going to deal with it.

“Most of the ponds are depleted and while they may not be dry, but if we get much more cold weather they might freeze dry. Some of the traditional sources of water just aren't going to be available,” Kelly said.

Kelly added that it’s too late to dig a well this year and many livestock producers are hauling water supplies to combat the dry conditions.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture says water is the most important nutrient for all classes of livestock and cattle have difficulty adapting to water restrictions.

Cattle producers who can prove they were forced to sell more cattle than normal due to this year’s dry weather can postpone some or all of their additional gain to next year.

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