Leased Pastures During Drought

August 4, 2017

Are you grazing cattle on rented pastures?  If so, the current drought or abnormally dry conditions may force some important decisions.

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Corn stubble with little residue
Figure 1. After the corn was cut for silage, little plant material remained in this southwest Nebraska field to protect the soil from wind or water erosion or to capture snow moisture. The corn had been planted in a field with little wheat residue.

Should You Hay or Cut Silage from Drought-Damaged Corn Fields

July 28, 2017
Drought conditions across much of Nebraska will limit grain yields in dryland corn this year, leading growers to look at other options for harvesting value from these fields. In some cases, harvesting this plant material may contribute to nutrient and water removal from the soil and may not be the best solution for your rotation or cropping system.

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Making Silage from Dry Corn

July 28, 2017

Most dryland corn fields may be too dry for making the best silage. Dry silage is difficult to pack well enough to force out all the oxygen and it often spoils, lowering its energy and protein digestibility. It also can heat up, leading to spontaneous combustion fires.

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USDA map of counties approved by USDA for emergency haying or grazing

Emergency Haying and Grazing Resources

July 28, 2017
In response to the growing area of drought in Nebraska, emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres is being allowed in most counties. Other drought-based resources now available include haying of highway rights-of-way and the Hay and Forage Hotline.

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Dry/Drought Area Expands in Nebraska

July 20, 2017
The July 18 Drought Monitor for Nebraska reflected a decline in conditions from last week. Three-quarters of the state was either abnormally dry (49.5%) or in moderate (24%) to severe drought (less than 1 %).

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Forage Options with Damaged Corn

July 18, 2017

Spotty rains and drought conditions in some areas of the state as well as hail and wind damage are leading growers to seek alternative uses for rainfed corn fields. Fortunately, there are several forage alternatives.

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Nebraska drought map 6-27-17
Nebraska drought map 6-27-17

Abnormally Dry Area Expands to 68% of Nebraska

June 30, 2017
Dry areas expanded in Nebraska for the second straight week with 68% of the state now labeled as "abnormally dry" by the US Drought Monitor.

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Drought monitor map for Nebraska for June 27, 2017
Drought monitor map for Nebraska for June 27, 2017

Forecast: Expect High Heat Indices after July 4

June 29, 2017
Short range numerical models bring additional chances for moisture to the eastern half of the state from July 2 through early July 4, likely the best chance for moisture for northern Nebraska through next weekend. If substantial rains in excess of 2 inches fail to materialize, there is a strong possibility that moderate drought conditions will be introduced across portions of the eastern Sandhills and northeast Nebraska next week.

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