Having a good drought plan in place can help your operation weather even the most severe drought conditions, according to specialists with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Your plan should consider how crops, forage, and other resources have reacted to drought in the past. The NRCS offers these land-management ideas.
- Use conservation tillage, leaving crop residue on fields after harvest, to increase soil moisture and reduce evaporation.
- Use conservation practices that reduce runoff and encourage infiltration of water into the soil.
- Closely monitor soil moisture. Ask your local NRCS office for a complimentary copy of the agency publication "Estimating Soil Moisture by Feel and Appearance."
- Maintain and establish riparian buffers, filter strips, grassed waterways, and other types of conservation buffers near streams and other sources of water.
- Know your animals' forage needs. Contract early to make sure you will have enough hay during dry times or find alternative feed sources.
- Cull herds according to a schedule that will maximize your profits.