The percentage of U.S. land area experiencing severe drought in July reached the highest levels in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Reports confirmed that the drought now covers half the nation and is continuing to intensify.

What does this mean for dairy calf and heifer growers? While the price of grain is on the rise, dairy producers can expect a shortage in feed.  

This Tip of the Week has been brought to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA).

The conditions have taken a substantial toll on some of the nation's crops, pastures and rangelands. In the primary growing states for corn, 22 percent of the crop is in poor or very poor condition.


If these patterns last, according to some analysts, the possibilities may be $10 per bushel corn and nearly $20 per bushel soybeans. Factors being considered in these projected price increases are the persistent triple-digit-temperatures combined with low soil moisture profiles. Dairy farmers should consider the following drought management strategies:

  • Use non-forage fiber sources in dairy diets;
  • Properly harvest and store forage to reduce loss and waste;
  • Test forages for quality and properly balance rations;
  • Limit-feed dairy heifers to stretch forage inventories and purchases.

Consult with your nutritionist or veterinarian about drought strategies and feed options. DCHA Gold Standards recommend you notify your nutritionist and/or veterinarian about any changes to your calf and heifer rations.

The USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their crop insurance companies and/or local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Centers to report damages to crops or livestock loss. The USDA reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses and additional expenses such as food purchased due to lost supplies.

More information about federal crop insurance may be found at Additional resources to help farmers and ranchers deal with flooding may be found at