Dry Weather Affecting Cattle Ranchers

California Cattle

Dry Weather Affecting Cattle Ranchers

June 8, 2016

Cattle Ranchers Hit Hard in the South Valley, Move to Greener Pastures

by Emily McKay Johnson, Associate Editor

 

Josh Davy, a University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension livestock, range and natural resources advisor in Tehama County reported good news for the cattle industry despite dry weather conditions around the state.

Josh Davy, UCCE Tehama County

Josh Davy, UCCE Tehama County livestock, range and natural resources advisor (Source: UCCE Tehama)

Heading into last fall, the feed year started off relatively dry, according to Davy; however the end-of-season crops produced a better forage than the year before. Though prices slid for the cattle farmer, Davy said optimisticly, “We're happier on our range conditions—as compared to the previous years that we've had—by a long shot.” he said.  

The drought that plagues California still directly impacts cattle ranges, and ranchers are not quite out of trouble. Davy had to resort to feed supplementation through the month of December. “We didn't have to supplement as much as in the previous few years,” he said, “but we definitely did this fall.” Fortunately the winter months were short and the spring rainfall produced good growth—good assurances that will help Davy and his team make it through next year.

Cattle-on-I5Davy has fortunately sidestepped hardship with a tinge of luck, but it hasn’t been as easy for ranchers in the south of the state. When cattle lack enough sustenance, a domino effect is felt all across the state of California; a lactating cow may not produce enough milk to feed her calves.

The cows like lush grass, a rarity in the Central and South Valley summer months. Winter options for cattle are either winter range ground or mountain meadow ground where greenery is still prevalent. Some ranchers haul their cattle to summer pasture feedlots to graze, while some prefer Oregon instead.

“We're dried off here to where you might find a swell with a little rye grass in it that's still green,”Davy said regarding the disappearance of lush land, “but pretty much everything else, the oats and all that stuff, they're done here.”

Looking forward, Josh Davy is hoping irrigation water will sustain not only the beef cattle, but the pastures as well, to keep the herds stationary and munching on green grass.

 

More California Ag News

BIG WATER RALLY SCHEDULED FOR JAN. 16! Thousands Needed To Participate In Big Water Rally on Jan. 16  
Solano County 4-H Clubs Win Big at Skills Day When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon Curd! Showmanship winner Tyler Scott of the Wolfskill 4-H Club DIXON--Tyler Scott of the...
California Ag News UC To Help Ranchers UC to Help Ranchers Survive Winter 2013-14 The first agricultural operations to feel the impact of a drought are dryland ranchers, many of whom r...
MONTEREY FARM BUREAU WARNS CPUC ON WATER ISSUES Desalination Plant Could Jeopardize Groundwater Supply California American Water could threaten the ground water supply of the Salinas Valley where u...