Cow-calf producers hit by this year’s drought in northwest Iowa are dealing with a host of challenges.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has scheduled a series of drought recovery meetings next month to offer advice on pasture repair and what financial assistance is available. Iowa State Extension beef specialist Beth Doran says the big question is how quickly pastures will recover after cows grazing on the land ate grasses nearly down to the roots.
“We know that in some cases maybe those pastures, there’s been some grasses and legumes like clovers and alfalfa that may die out this winter,” she says, “so they might have to go back in and do some reseeding come this spring.”
Dustin Puhrmann says his 20 cows grazed his O’Brien County pastures down further than he would’ve liked to see this past summer. The grass didn’t get enough moisture to grow back. Puhrmann says many farmers he worked with had to give their cows and calves supplemental proteins and feed to get through the summer months. Now, farmers buying hay in the winter are paying more.
“To feed those cows is going to cost me a lot more money this winter to get them back to where they’re grazing again next summer,” he says.
According to Iowa State University extension, there are about 6000 cattle feedlots in Iowa where steers are fed and sold, but thousands of other Iowa farmers raise cows and calves on pasture ground, selling the calves when they’re around a year old.
(By Katie Piekes, Iowa Public Radio)