Drought Resources for Ranchers

Drought Resources for Ranchers

July 2017

photo of drought affected pasture
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Pat Reece.

Drought conditions are plaguing much of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Hot, dry conditions are also impacting range and pasture in Nebraska.

The following are resources that provide information on managing through drought conditions.

  1. The Drought Monitor shows current conditions as well as links to forecasts.
  2. Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch has information and resources on practices and plans to manage through drought conditions. 
  3. Early weaning of calves can be used as a tool to save forage for the cow herd.  The following resources at  beef.unl.edu provide information on management practices for early weaning calves.
  4. Removing cows from rangeland and pasture is sometimes the best option under drought conditions.  The following resources at beef.unl.edu present information on drylotting cows.
  5. Drought conditions can prompt the use of feed resources that may be unfamiliar to many producers.  Pricing and comparing feed options as well as developing a balanced ration to meet cattle requirements are important.
    • Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator is an Excel® spreadsheet tool that can help producers compare feeds to one another to determine what feed options may be most cost effective on a price per unit of energy and protein.  The NUBeef-cowQlate App also contains this tool.
    • Nebraska Beef Specialists and Educators are available to help producers evaluate and balance rations to meet nutrition requirements of cattle.


Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Educator
University of Nebraska–Lincoln


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