El Nino creates issues for cattle producers.


El Nino years come and go, but it’s good to know how an El Nino year affects your cattle operation. James McWhorter, Highlands County Livestock Extension Agent shared topics to consider during an El Nino year in a South Florida Beef-Forage Program article. See his suggestions below.

Thoughts for an El Nino Year


McWhorter maintains cattle operators should take the following into consideration during an El Nino year:

  • “Winter forages should be doing relatively well unless they are in low lying areas that may be underwater,” due to rain
  • “High moisture in pasture forages can lead to reduced dry matter intake. This can cause cattle to lose body scores especially this time of year when our warm season grass have the lowest nutritive value.”
  • “Feeding hay can make up for this deficient in dry matter intake.”
  • “Standing water around feeders can affect the intake of cattle as well.”
  • “Not meeting the cow’s nutritional need at this time of the year could lead to lower reproductive rates if your breeding season has started or is about to start.”
  • Pasture weeds may also present a problem with our current weather. Without freeze events and higher rainfall this winter, many pasture weeds like tropical soda apple may become a problem this summer.”
  • “Without cold weather to suppress weed populations, livestock producers may have to be more aggressive with their weed control programs this year. Getting a head start controlling pasture weeds this year may lead to a lot less work controlling weeds this spring and summer.
  • Warmer temperatures this winter will reduce the winter kill off of flies and external parasites. Early fly control may be appropriate this year to maximize the impact of your fly control program. Controlling the flies and parasites early can reduce their ability to reproduce. If we do continue to have warm temperatures the fly population could be large problem.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.


Photo courtesy of NRCS Oregon.