Survey responses reflect challenges facing cattle grazers

TOPEKA – Results from the 2013 Bluestem Pasture Survey, conducted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS), show that cattlemen and women in the 14-county Flint Hills region of Kansas are facing challenges related to reduced stockwater availability and diminished pasture conditions.

The survey, which was conducted for the first time since 2009 due to budgetary restraints, was sent to 2,200 ranchers in the Flint Hills and collected data related pasture availability, pasture use and practices, pasture leasing rates, pasture condition and fence building rates.

According to the survey, pasture conditions in the Flint Hills at the beginning of the grazing season are 16 percent very poor, 41 percent poor, 34 percent adequate and 8 percent good. Meanwhile, stockwater supplies on May 5 were reported as 22 percent very short, 26 percent short, 50 percent adequate and only 2 percent surplus compared to the 2009 survey, where 92 percent reported adequate or better supplies.

In 2013, just 8 percent of respondents reported burning pastures, down from 78 percent in 2009.


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