‘Since the first of May, we’ve had less than two and a half inches,’ central South Dakota rancher explains drought conditions

Local News

HAYES, S.D. (KELO) – While some areas saw rain this weekend, others are still looking for moisture. One rancher we visited has seen under two and a half inches of rain since May 1st.

It’s a busy day for the Norman family, whose ranch is just north of Hayes.

They’re moving their yearlings to a different pasture.

“We’ve been kind of doing a rotational grazing throughout these pastures, only keep them in there about a week at a time and then we move them on to the next pasture, give that pasture a little bit of time to recover, then we don’t graze it down so far too,” rancher, Chantry Norman said.

“Just to get them off and give the pasture a chance to green up again, but that hasn’t happened this year,” rancher, Mork Norman said. “Seems like it’s a lot hotter, it’s been 100 degrees all the time.”

“Since the first of May we’ve had less than two and a half inches,” Chantry Norman said.

When you add in recent hot temperatures, Chantry Norman says the grazing season is going to be a lot shorter this year.

“I’d like my grazing season to be about 110 days but this year it might be about half of that,” Chantry Norman said. “Our forage, the quantity of it, it’s not there, it’s pretty thin out there, so we’ve got liquid supplements that we’ve been putting out and it gives them the protein and energy they need so they won’t consume as much grass and hopefully make our grass last a little bit longer.”

That also means selling sooner.

“When we do that our steers won’t weigh as much as they should, they’ll be a lot lighter,” Chantry Norman said.

Many others in the area are also facing these tough conditions.

“Being a rancher you always have to have the next drought or a bad winter always in the back of your mind so you always need to be prepared for next year,” Chantry Norman said.

Norman also says haying isn’t going too well either. Many people aren’t putting up hay because there isn’t anything out there. He says people will probably be looking for a different feed source for wintertime.

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