Pasture, rangeland conditions markedly improve

Excessive wetness and cool conditions contributing to poor conditions in North.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

May 16, 2019

1 Min Read
beef cows and calves
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So far this spring, pasture and rangeland conditions are very green and lush in most areas, U.S. Department of Agriculture chief meteorologist Brad Rippey reported this week. According to the latest data, 63% of U.S. rangeland and pasture is currently rated in good/excellent condition, while just 7% is in very poor/poor condition. Last year, he said the U.S. was looking at 43% in good/excellent condition and 20% in very poor/poor condition.

Drought has been the culprit for the very poor/poor rating in recent years, but this year, excessive precipitation in the North has mostly contributed to the percentage, although there is some lingering drought in the South.

“In the far north, we have lack of green-up due to excessive wetness and cool conditions, so just 22% very poor/poor in Wisconsin [and] 23% in Maine. That should improve once we get warmer and drier weather,” he said.

Overall, the U.S. seems to be in good shape. Rippey reported that anywhere from 60% to 84% of pasture and rangeland is rated good/excellent, stretching all the way from California to the East Coast states of Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and into Georgia, as well as many states in between.

Rippey concluded that there is “plenty of grass for livestock and other animals out there this spring.”

Drought retreats

The U.S. Drought Monitor Map also is showing significant improvements from last year. As of May 14, only 8.84% of the U.S. is in some form of drought, compared to 45.64% on May 15, 2018.

May 14 2019 drought map FDS.png

May 15 2018 drought map FDS.png


About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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