The unusual weather across the United States this year has brought some drought relief to the southern Plains while raising concerns over lack of moisture in parts of the northern Corn Belt. But whether you are enduring a drought, optimistically emerging from a drought or suspecting you might be entering a drought, some user-friendly online resources can help you respond appropriately.
The National Drought Mitigation Center last year launched “Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch,” a site that walks producers through the process of drought planning. Sections focused on management before, during and after drought provide in-depth tools and information to aid the rancher’s decision process.
The site also includes case studies from eight ranches in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas, providing real-world examples of how ranchers prepared and responded to drought on their operations.
The U.S. Drought Monitor, also hosted by the University of Nebraska, offers a wealth of weather information including the well-known colorcoded Drought Monitor map. The site includes an animation feature allowing the user to view a series of maps covering a time span of weeks, months or a full year. The animation provides a graphic illustration of trends as drought areas expand, shrink or change in severity. Detailed forecasts, trend analysis and soil-moisture indexes also provide valuable information for farmers and ranchers. Visit “Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch,” at drought.unl.edu/ranchplan. Find the Drought Monitor at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.