• Drought Consequences for Cow-Calf Production in Wyoming: 2011—2014

      Scasta, John D.; Windh, Jessica L.; Smith, Travis; Baumgartner, Bob (Society for Range Management, 2015-12-01)
      On the Ground • Drought reduces forage quantity and carrying capacity, but reductions in cow-calf performance measured by calf average daily gain (ADG) and weaning weight (WW) are less understood. • From 2011 to 2014, a period with very dry and very wet years, we assessed an adjusted 210 day WW and ADG for a total of 869 calves on two University of Wyoming ranches. • We found WW was up to 99 pounds (lb) lower, and ADG was up to 0.47 lb lower between the driest and wettest years. • For each one inch reduction in precipitation, WW are predicted to be 7 lb to 14 lb lower, ADG is expected to be 0.03 lb to 0.07 lb lower, and dollar per head values 12 to 27 lower, depending on calf sex and ranch location. • If drought occurs, or continues to escalate in frequency and severity, WW reductions, ADG reductions, and value per head reductions should be expected and documented for strategic planning and/or compensation programs.