South Dakota State University Extension provided critical resources to farmers and ranchers in 2021 as more than 80% of the state was still considered in some category of drought as of September, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. In August, more than 90% of the state was experiencing some level of drought.
The SDSU Extension Drought Team provided a number of virtual sessions, videos and written materials to aid farmers and ranchers while making important and critical decisions. Drought planning was incorporated into overall grazing plans, providing guidance in making decisions when forage may be lacking. The plan utilized certain triggers to allow for the protection of grassland resources.
The team also provided testing services for nitrates in forage and electro-conductivity in water for water suitability. Producers were encouraged to provide water and forage samples for free tests to determine total salts in water, as well as free Nitrate Quick Tests for Forages.
Additional important resources provided by the team included:
- Climate updates, which included regular drought monitor reports and weather forecasts.
- Tools to manage croplands proactively through all stages of drought to include planting, harvesting and pest/disease control.
- Livestock protection tools to help producers with finances through expert health, nutrition and management resources for dry conditions.
- Range and land management to help manage through prolonged dry periods with research-tested recommendations.
- Support to guide producers experiencing financial strain during drought conditions using market insights and business resources.
- Expert recommendations for managing gardens, lawns and trees through extended dry conditions.
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