TRENDING TOPIC ARTICLE: FEED & NUTRITION In this video, published in the July 20, 2012 Progressive Dairyman Extra e-newsletter, Dr. Mike Hutjens of the University of Illinois discussed drought-stress corn concerns and strategies for the drought of 2012. At the time, nearly one-third of the U.S. corn crop was experiencing drought-stress.

Hutjens mike
Professor of Animal Sciences Emeritus / University of Illinois – Urbana

Scroll down or to view the video.

Because this video has been so popular, we asked Hutjens to respond to a follow up question:
Q. Will all of the strategies you mention in the article work in 2013, if drought continues? Are there any that were only applicable to last year's situation?

HUTJENS: If the drought continues in 2013, dairy managers will need to focus on forage resources as some managers had significant forage carry-over from 2011 crop year which may not available from 2012 crop year.

The following points will also be important:

  1. Inspect alfalfa and grass forage stands in late winter/early spring to determine if the drought reduces plant numbers and vigor (may need to replace).
  2. Consider harvesting winter wheat, triticale, and other small winter annuals as an early forage crop instead as a grain and straw resource.
  3. Expect corn prices to increases above current prices is dry weather continues in 2013. Small grains (such as barley and wheat) can be fed in place of corn (but see point 2 above--cannot do both).
  4. Consider drought tolerant forages should as forage sorghum and sorghum/sudan hybrids if land is available in the late spring and summer.
  5. Annual small grain forage (such as fall oats) can be planted in August if fall moisture returns.
  6. Monitor nitrates, aflatoxin, and other mycotoxins as in 2012.
  7. Forage test and retest as quality will vary greatly.

Dr. Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois, discusses drought-stress corn concerns and strategies for the drought of 2012. Video by the University of Illinois Dairy Education. Click here to visit the YouTube channel for additional videos.

Additional resources:

  • The July 17, 2012 Progressive Forage Grower Extra featured articles on dealing with drought-stressed corn and forages. Click here to get started.
  • Purdue University Extension dairy specialists Tamilee Nennich and Mike Schutz offer drought management strategies for dairy producers in the article, "Drought creating feed shortages for Indiana dairies."