Winter feed and forage planning for 2018-2019

Baled hay is an option for producers to use for feeding cattle through the winter. Care should be taken when purchasing hay to make sure it meets quality and nutritional requirements of cattle in different stages of growth.

USDA recently announced plans to help cover the costs of transporting feed due to drought conditions. The department is updating the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) to immediately cover feed transportation costs for drought-impacted ranchers.

ELAP already covers the cost of hauling water during drought, and this change will expand the program for places where drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought intensity is D3 or greater or USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability.

Under the revised policy for feed transportation cost assistance, eligible ranchers will be reimbursed 60 percent of feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year. The formula to determine reimbursement costs will not include the first 25 miles and distances exceeding 1,000 transportation miles.

Wheat is a great resource for farmers and ranchers—it can be used for grazing only, grain production only or as a dual-purpose grazing and grain crop. Ideal planting dates are different depending on the intended purpose of the crop.

The calculation will also exclude the normal cost to transport hay or feed if the producer normally purchases some feed. More information on the ELAP expansion is forthcoming. In the meantime, more information is available at fsa.usda.gov/elap or by contacting a local USDA Service Center.

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