Drought Survival Meetings
Set for Locations Around State
|A fallow field next to an inactive water supply pipe on the West Side.|
Grave concern for California ranchers facing a
prolonged dry spell this winter has prompted UC Cooperative Extension to
organize meetings for ranchers in Mariposa, Mendocino, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Ventura
and Tulare counties to connect remotely to a UC drought workshop in Browns
Valley Jan. 29.
"This workshop addresses an issue ranchers are
dealing with right now," said Fadzayi "Fadzie" Mashira, UCCE advisor and county director in Mariposa County.
"The meeting will give ranchers tools they can use now and in the future
to mitigate and prepare for droughts."
The workshop, "Mitigating Drought: Optimizing
Pasture and Supplemental Feed and Managing Risk," takes place from 9 a.m.
to 3:30 p.m. at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center,
8279 Scott Forbes Rd., Browns Valley, Calif. Three UCCE advisors, two UCCE
specialists, a veterinarian, a rancher, an insurance agent and a Cattlemen's
Association representative will discuss supplementing with alternative protein
and roughage, managing animal health, making culling decisions and other topics
that will help keep ranchers in business through what is shaping up to be the
worst drought in California history. The complete agenda is posted online.
"From previous droughts we've learned that
feeding the whole herd through the drought may spell the end of business,"
said Glenn Nader, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sutter-Yuba
Counties. "We plan to provide information on management options and
impacts of drought on dryland range and irrigated pasture, feeding options to
consider during a drought and how to decide what cows to sell."
Nader is organizing the workshop with Jeremy James, director of the UC Sierra Foothill Research and
Extension Center. To register for the meeting in Browns Valley, complete this online form. Registration is $10 and includes
Remote meeting locations are:
In Mariposa County there hasn't been any significant
grass growth in most areas this winter. Some of the annual grass seedlings that
germinated with November and December precipitation are dying due to the lack
of rainfall in subsequent weeks.
"Most ranchers in Mariposa County report that
this is the worst fall and winter season they have seen for as long as they
have ranched in the area," Mashira said.
Ranchers are currently supplementing with hay,
molasses and alternative feeds like almond hulls in order to maintain body
condition and hoping the rain will come soon.
During the Browns Valley field visit, participants in
the Mariposa County meeting will share ideas about practices that have worked
for some ranchers and discuss issues that may have come out during the webcast.
Early precipitation germinated many of the range
grasses and clovers in Mendocino County, but they have since dried off. As a
result, the seed bank may not be sufficient to grow enough feed even when or if
rain falls in the spring, said John Harper, UCCE advisor and county director
in Mendocino County.
Local cattlemen and cattlewomen are stockpiling hay
and starting herd reductions.
"One rancher said he already sold off 50 percent
of his cow herd to be able to afford feeding the rest," Harper said.
The drought also comes at a bad time for sheep
"Lambing is in full swing, so producers are
forced to feed pellets or hay so ewes will have adequate milk. Without green
grass lambs won't gain weight and won't be ready for spring markets,"
The Mendocino meeting will be at the UC Hopland
Research and Extension Center, 4070 University Road, Hopland, from 8:45 a.m. to
Local speakers at Hopland include Harper, Katie Delbar
and Karri Bartolomei, USDA Farm Service Agency, and Carre Brown, First District
Supervisor for Mendocino County. A registration fee of $10 per person will
cover handout materials. Participants are invited to bring sack lunches
and participate in discussion over the noon break. Beverages will be
provided. To register, complete this online survey.
Contact: John Harper, (707) 463-4495, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2012-13 rain season in San Luis Obispo County was
worse than in other parts of the state. Because of that, ranchers sold many
cattle last spring, said Royce Larsen, UCCE advisor in San Luis Obispo
"From last spring to fall, most producers used
what old feed they had from two years ago," Larsen said. "They were
hoping for some early rains this year to get germination and some growth of new
feed. The rains did not come. There has not been any germination yet, so there
is no feed available for livestock on our rangelands."
Larsen said San Luis Obispo ranchers are either
feeding their cattle supplemental feed, or selling off more, if not most, of
The meeting in San Luis Obispo County begins at 12:30
p.m. at the UCCE office, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. After the webcast
concludes at about 3:30 p.m., Larsen and other experts will provide local
information. The meeting is free and advance registration is not required.
Contact: Royce Larsen, (805) 434-4106, email@example.com
Some Kern County ranchers had to cull up to 75 percent
of their cattle herd last year, reported UCCE advisor Julie Finzel. Many will be facing a similar situation in 2014.
"Currently there is little to no green feed on
the ground, only remnants of last year's reduced growth," Finzel said.
The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the
UC Cooperative Extension office, 1031 South Mount Vernon Ave., Bakersfield.
Cost is $10 and includes lunch. Register online at http://ucanr.edu/dweb.
Contact: Julie Finzel, (661) 868-6219, firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the problems with little to no feed
growing on rangeland in Ventura County, the drought has also impacted
stockwater quality and quantity, which has caused additional problems. The UC
Cooperative Extension office is hosting a seminar on Jan. 29 to celebrate the
organization's Centennial, so the ranchers' meeting is being coordinated by the
Ventura County Farm Bureau and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The meeting will be at the farm bureau office, 5156 McGrath St. in Ventura.
Lunch is sponsored by the Ventura County Cattlemen's Association. The session
includes the 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. webcast from Browns Valley and, during the
40-minute field trip in Browns Valley, a beef quality assurance training video.
There is no charge.
Contact: Fletcher Nelson, USDA-NRCS Range Management
945-2604, Ext. 111, email@example.com.
Tulare County ranchers may gather at the UC Veterinary
Medicine Teaching and Research Center, 18830 Road 112 in Tulare, to view the
workshop webcast. The cost is $10 per person, payable at the door. Register
online at http://ucanr.edu/dweb.
Contact: Jim Sullins, (559) 684-3309,
The forum webcast is available from any computer for
those that cannot attend in person at Browns Valley or any of the remote
locations. Register using the online form to receive information on the
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Labels: Drought Meetings Schedule Drought Survival Meetings Set for Locations Around State