Impact of Drought on Northwest Iowa Beef Cow-Calf Operations

Authors: , , ,


This project assessed the impact that the 2012 drought had on northwest Iowa cow-calf operations. A survey was mailed to 293 beef producers in seventeen northwest Iowa counties. Producers indicated that feed resources were scarce, and those who bought feed noted high prices made feed an undesirable purchase. Future plans included extensive pasture management and feed supplementation. The average pregnancy rate of the females, 93%, was not significantly affected by the drought, but heat stress on the female was perceived to affect pregnancy rate. Despite drought, 11% of the producers planned to retain open females. The majority, 75%, of the operations indicated that drought had little impact on their financial position, but 25% responded that their financial position would be poorer. To cope, some producers would sell part of the cows, sell the 2012 calves, and/or sell the 2012 replacement heifers. Other producers indicated that total or partial dispersal of the herd may be required. Rain, availability of feeds, and price of feedstuffs would dictate whether they kept or sold calves and cows.


How to Cite: Enerson, H. , Van Gelder, D. , Olthoff, J. & Doran, B. E. (2014) “Impact of Drought on Northwest Iowa Beef Cow-Calf Operations”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report. 11(1). doi: