Kansas Drought 2012 - part 1

Dry pasture grass and a pond that is nearly dry...tough times for cattle on grass.
The obvious effects of a drought are dry grass. But that grass is often quite nutritional...these heifers still look good!
This pond has lost more than half of its volume. We have cleaned out the silt a few years ago, so the water that is left is quite deep and not stagnant...YET.
Notice the mud on the calves' legs. That is one problem with a low pond...not only is water disappearing, but it is sticky, deep mud that cattle have to walk through to get to the water. This pond is not nearly as bad as some, but they are still having to go through mud.
The drought affects so many things on a ranch. The obvious effects are dry ponds and dry dead grass. Here are a few examples of those on our ranch this year. Due to the lack of grass, we are supplementing our cattle with a protein supplement. As long as there is dead, dry grass they can eat to fill up, they just need more protein. Once all the grass is gone, we will have to move them to another pasture or bring them home and start feeding hay--at least 2-3 months earlier than normal.

For more information, see Kansas Drought 2012 - Part 2  and Kansas Drought 2012 - Part 3.


  1. We're having the same problems here in Arkansas. Whenever a rain cloud builds up, it parts over us like the Red Sea, leaving us high and dry. We have had one pond cleaned out while it's dry, and hauling water to another herd. We've only cut hay one time this year, and have been feeding off that hay most all summer, and have bought a load of hay for the first time in our lives. So, in order to make the hay go further, we've bought a grinder for round bales and mixing it with grain. Needless to say, we're hoping Isaac brings rain up this far and hopefully to Kansas too. I feel most people who don't have cattle, or raise grain, just do not realize how stressful this drought is. I always think of the old bumper sticker: "Don't cuss the farmer with your mouth full".

  2. Here in south central Kansas, we are taking mamas and calves off one of our pastures tomorrow, two months sooner than normal. This is the second year we will sell the calves and not keep them to feed during the winter. We have enough feed for the cows but not enough for the babies, too. I hope and pray that we don't experience a 3rd straight year of drought.


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