The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map (Figure 1) indicates about 47% of U.S. dairy cows were in drought areas as of Jan. 4, unchanged from a month earlier but well below the peak of 63% last June.
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor maps overlay areas experiencing drought with major production areas for hay, alfalfa hay, corn, soybeans and other crops, as well as primary dairy and beef cattle areas.
Of additional concern to dairy and beef producers, about 44% of U.S. hay-producing acreage was considered under drought conditions at the start of January, up 3% from early December. The area of drought-impacted alfalfa acreage improved 4% over the past month but still stands at 56%. Conditions worsened slightly in Texas and the Central Plains.