Mark Hilton, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, Purdue University, is getting a lot of calls from producers on what and how to feed cows during the drought.

Hilton says producers need to conserve forage during the drought so they won’t have to buy hay in January. He recommends getting cows off pastures now.

“If we get a bit of rain the new shoots of grass will come up and immediately get eaten. Then they will die,” he explains. “Use a drylot or a small, sacrifice paddock for cows.”

Hilton says to get creative on feeds that you can use. “When you harvest beans, consider baling the bean stubble. We can add wet distillers, a vitamin/mineral mix and some water and make a nice ration. Anything the cows will eat within reason to make a fiber mat can be used for the roughage part.”

Sell late calvers, mean cows, cows with marginal udders, etc., now if calves are over 90 days of age. Consider early weaning calves; 90 days is the bare minimum and 120 days is even better yet.

“Do not sell calves now. Work with your nutritionist, extension beef specialist or veterinarian so they can help you make a very efficient backgrounding ration for you so you can sell more weight this fall,” Hilton says.

For more information, visit the Purdue University Integrated Resources Management page here.

For more information on the drought, click here