Minnesota Turkey Flock Taking a Hit From Drought

Drought is taking a toll on crops and livestock in 2023. Minnesota was the number one turkey-producing state last year, and Ag Department Commissioner Thom Petersen says the hot weather is taking a toll on poultry and other livestock.

“It’s really unfortunate a couple of days of 100-degree heat our turkey population has been taking a hit the last couple of days, and that’s unfortunate for those farmers. I think they take every precaution, but the heat just brings on stress, and a lot of times, it’s the stress that is what is too much for some of our poultry or livestock. So, I know farmers are doing everything they can. I was on some of our bigger feedlots out here in southwest Minnesota yesterday and last night and just saw them working to try and keep those cattle cool and give them plenty of water. But we just need those cooler temperatures to come sooner than later.”

While he doesn’t know the exact number of turkeys lost, the department is already working to help Minnesota producers through the challenge.

“We’re going to have quite a few numbers here as reports are coming in today, and our staff is working with our Board of Animal Health and others to help those producers deal with that situation.”

Crops in Southeast Minnesota have been hit hard by drought as well.

“As you look down there along the Wisconsin border, as we look at our map has been what we call the D3, the extreme drought, has been down in that area. It does have an impact on pod development and on kernel development. It’s a really critical stage right now. A lot of farmers lost their summer pasture. They had to get into their fall aid, their winter hay supply, and so that’s going to have an impact on our cattle. So, in a lot of the state, we’re going to have a solid crop. But there are some tough pockets in Minnesota, where we’ve seen most of the summer, 100 percent of Minnesota, at the end’s  abnormally dry.”