New Maps From USDA Help Ranchers Find Greener Pastures

Photo by Matt Reeves, Little Missouri National Grasslands, ND

Each spring, ranchers across the Eastern Plains look at their land and ask an important question: How much green can they expect this season?

Fort Collins, CO

By Esther Honig, Harvest Public Media - KUNC Public Radio

Each spring, ranchers across the Eastern Plains look at their land and ask a very important question: How much green can they expect this season?

In this case, “green” refers not to money, but to grass. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched a new tool to help cattlemen predict just how much they can look forward to.

The “Grass-Cast” is a digital map that combines seasonal precipitation forecasts with more than 30 years of historical data on weather and vegetation growth.

Dannele Peck, director of the USDA's Northern Plains Climate Hub, says ranchers rely on tools to predict grass growth.

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