GALENA, Mo. – Poor forage stands carried over from last year’s drought, lower hay yields, less fertilizer used and a drought again for 2023 have created major uncertainty in the Missouri beef industry.

These challenges will affect livestock producers preparing to feed cattle this winter with little forage and hay on hand, says Tim Schnakenberg, a University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist based in Galena.

MU Extension councils in Lawrence and Christian counties will hold informational meetings on Friday, Aug. 4, at two locations for cattle producers who want to discuss this issue and gain tips for building resilience and surviving the drought.

The free programs will focus on the cattle market outlook, assessing hay prices, using alternative feeds, feeding silage, nitrate concerns, tips for culling the herd, early weaning, assessing the need for forage renovation, forage options for the fall and beyond, and a look at the economics of forage irrigation.

“Back-to-back droughts have taken a major toll on livestock farms and ranches in the area,” Schnakenberg says. “Short hay supplies will continue to plague these farms as we go into winter. Producers need to evaluate if they should continue to sell down, look into new options for feeding and what they can do to make themselves more resilient if these weather patterns continue.”

In addition to Schnakenberg, state beef nutrition specialist Eric Bailey, livestock specialists Patrick Davis and Andy McCorkill, and agricultural business specialists Joe Horner and Wesley Tucker will be on hand for the discussion.

Times and locations for Aug. 4 meetings:

  • Lawrence County. 8:30-11:45 a.m., MU Southwest Center, 14548 Highway H, Mount Vernon.
  • Christian County. 2-5:15 p.m., First Baptist Church, 105 Kennedy Ave., Clever.

For free registration, call 417-357-6812 or sign up online for Mount Vernon at or for Clever at

Media Contact