Rotationally Grazing Through the Drought

The drought takes its toll. The bottom of a "pond" dries up.

Right now our area is anywhere from 30-50% behind average annual rainfall. The ground “crunches” when you walk on it. There’s still plenty of green rose bushes, lespedeza and other plants that can tolerate the drought, but all the fescue, johnson and orchard grass is dead. At least we have some grass though. Not many people in our area do. Literally every person we know that raises animals in our neck of the woods is feeding hay right now.

Feeding hay isn’t typical in June and the beginning of July. There’s generally enough pasture to go around. Our neighbors say they’ll sometimes need to feed hay at the end of August or early September if the fall rains start late (or never come), but very rarely do they start feeding hay this early in the summer.

When we drive to town it’s pasture after pasture of bare dirt. Cows and horses eating hay off tens, or even hundreds, of acres of dirt. A few months ago those fields were lush. And there’s a high likelihood that those fields would still have some grass if the farmers started rotationally grazing.

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