cattle grazing

Yearling cattle graze on winter cereal forages in the spring.

With all of North Dakota in a drought and nearly half the state in severe drought, North Dakota State University Extension is going to be hosting live monthly webinars to assist ranchers in navigating this challenge.

The webinars will be at 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month beginning April 29.

Not only will the webinars update the latest drought conditions and climate outlook, specialists will walk ranchers through upcoming drought “triggers,” and how to assess these when it comes to management strategies. This will help ranchers plan ahead to make timely decisions, as well as enhancing their ability to withstand the situation.

“Having a drought plan in place with well-defined triggers and actions enables ranchers to act proactively and reduce risk on their operation,” says Miranda Meehan, Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist and disaster education coordinator.

Participants may ask questions during the live webinar. The webinar will be recorded, and the recording will be archived at for later viewing.

Best annual forages during drought

Annual forages that do best during moisture-stressed periods include forage barley, forage oats and foxtail millet. Forage wheat, a newer option, also looks promising during moisture-stressed periods.

Forage barley, oats and wheat performed better under drier conditions than spring triticale in a study near Wishek, N.D., in 2020. Although forage barley and forage oats performed the best during the drought year, forage oats performed better when moisture was not limited.

How producers plan to feed the annual forage is important when selecting an annual cereal forage. If the livestock feeding operation does not have the capacity to grind feeds, forage barley will be the best option.

Forage barley has the lowest lignin content of the cereal options, creating the most palatable feed source. Forage oats are lower than forage wheat in lignin content, but both feed crops will be best fed when ground and mixed into a total mixed ration.

Siberian foxtail millet will be the best warm-season grass option during drought conditions. Although less productive than German foxtail millet, it is a better scavenger for moisture and nutrients.

A full-season cover crop mixture is also an option during drought years. This mixture could include forage cereal crops, foxtail millet and brassica species such turnips, radish, cabbage and kale. This mixture would be best suited for grazing and haylage vs. a hay crop.

The last option is planting a winter cereal. Winter cereals will not help provide extra hay in 2021 but could be used for late-season grazing or a forage option for 2022. Winter cereals are a great option for early spring grazing or early hay production.

If spring grazing is desired, use winter rye or winter triticale. If seeding a winter cereal for hay production, use winter forage wheat.

To learn more on this topic, visit or visit your local NDSU Extension agent.

Agriculture by the numbers

Learn more on prevent planting insurance, the livestock forage program, cattle inventories, corn supplies, and the implications for prices and marketing in April’s edition of Agriculture by the Numbers. The monthly publication is edited by NDSU Extension Agricultural Finance Specialist Bryon Parman. It is online at

Sunflower growers intend to plant 1.22 million acres

Growers in seven of the eight major sunflower producing states expect to plant fewer acres this year, for a 29 percent decline in acres to 1.22 million, according to the USDA’s 2021 Planting Intentions Report.

In North Dakota, planted acres are expected to decline by 315,000 acres to 418,000.

The only state expected to increase is Colorado, where the planted area is expect3ed to rise 12,000 acres over last year.

The amount of acres devoted to oil seeds is down 28 percent year over year to 1.08 million acres.

Glatt sentenced for cattle crimes

A Mandan, North Dakota man will be serving four years in federal prison for bank fraud and for transporting stolen livestock across state lines.

Kelly Anthony Glatt, 39, was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment for the fraud conviction and 36 months imprisonment on the transportation conviction by U.S. District Judge Daniel M. Traynor. The sentences are to be served concurrently, after which Glatt will then serve a three-year term of supervised release. Traynor also ordered Glatt to pay $1.84 million in restitution and $200 inn special assessments.

USDA announces funding to help socially disadvantaged producers, CFAP 2.0 opens

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the availability of $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The funding was made possible by USDA’s new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, an effort to distribute resources more broadly and to put greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers impacted by the pandemic. Today also marks the reopening of FSA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) signup as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Farmers and ranchers will have at least 60 days to apply or make modifications to existing CFAP 2 applications.

Read more online at

USDA halts RFID eartag mandate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is not going to finalize a plan that was put forth by the Trump administration to require Radio Frequency Identification tags for interstate cattle movement.

The plan had come under fire in part for bypassing the usual rulemaking process.

The decision does not mean RFIID ear tags are necessarily gone for good. APHIS intends to pursue through the usual channels a new rule involving RFID tags.

In the meantime, producers can continue to use all currently legal methods for moving cattle. USDA will continue to encourage the use of RFID tags while the rulemaking process involving them goes forward, believing they are the best way to protect against the rapid spread of animal diseases.

Lending rates announced

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced loan interest rates for April 2021, which are effective April 1. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operation, purchase equipment and storage structures, or meet cash flow needs. Read more online at

Dates to watch

April 15: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) producers with 2021 Perennial Forage intended for mechanical harvest or grazing are required to report their crop acreage 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the specific crop acreage.

May 31: Final availability date for Loans and LDPs for prior year harvested Corn, Dry Peas, Grain Sorghum, Lentils, Mustard Seed, Rice, Safflower Seed, Chickpeas, Soybeans and Sunflower Seed

June 15: 2021 Nominations open for 2021 FSA County Committee Elections

July 15: 2021 Acreage Reporting Deadline for Annually Seeded Spring Crops, Spring Seeded Alfalfa Seed, Forage Seeding, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Perennial Forage not covered under the NAP, and all other crops not required to be reported by a previous reporting date. This is the final date that FSA can accept late-filed 2020 reports for these crops.

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