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Comparison of Alternative Cattle Management Strategies Under Long-Term Drought


Publication #: B-1219
Date Published: 08/16/2011

Publication Author(s):
John P. Ritten
Christopher T. Bastian
Steven I. Paisley
Michael A. Smith

Drought is a major challenge for cattle producers in the West. Drought can cause reductions in forage production, forcing producers to choose between smaller herd sizes, increasing costs through supplemental feeding activities, and/or increasing short-term debt loads. Research at the University of Wyoming suggests Wyoming cattle producers have tried a number of strategies to cope with drought (see Nagler et al., 2007, for example). Researchers at the university conducted analyses to evaluate long-term profitability of alternative management strategies for livestock operations when faced with droughts and fluctuating cattle prices. Potential strategies to cope with drought include late calving, early weaning, and retaining steers as well as the more frequently used strategies of partial liquidation and/or purchasing additional feed (hay) to address forage shortages, specifically in response to variable precipitation and cattle prices.

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