Make a priority list of how additional liquidation will be implemented if necessary. This should include older and open cows, growing replacement heifers, pregnant heifers, mature cows and so on. The list should include action triggers, which could be specific dates or based on forage conditions, that will initiate the next phase of liquidation. This plan may include consideration of relocating animals outside of the drought area and should evaluate the economic feasibility of relocating animals as well as the reality of locating and arranging a destination for animals.
Early weaning of suckling calves will reduce forage requirements of lactating cows and stretch limited forage reserves this summer and fall. These calves may be marketed early or moved into a drylot or semi-confinement backgrounding program. The feasibility of implementing such a program must evaluate overall economic potential as well as the availability of facilities, labor and equipment to feed and care for calves in a growing program. In general, supplemental feed supplies are plentiful and inexpensive this year and may provide more flexibility for cattle producers to stretch forage supplies.