This is the time of year when farmers and ranchers in many parts of the country are dealing with the problem of drought. It is often thought that there is little you can do to mitigate drought and its effects on crops - short of irrigating and hoping for rain.
But there are some excellent resources and articles which can help you understand the the science of drought, and the many proactive steps you might take to plan for and manage its effects. These include: maximizing irrigation resources, managing soils to improve water retention capacity, contour planting, weed management, pest control, conservation tillage, selecting drought resistant varieties, cover cropping, and more.
I have compiled a list of 10 resources which I think folks might find particularly useful. To see them click the 'Read More' tab below
They will also be archived on the our new Managing Drought Page, which I will continue to add resources to as I find them. Readers are also encouraged to contact us with suggestions for other resources.1) National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) Drought Resource Guide: A comprehensive resources are available to producers to assist them as they manage their farms or ranches in the event of drought as well as to protect their assets in the event of a drought. Highly Recommended. 2) Optimizing Soil Moisture for Plant Production: The significance of soil porosity FAO SOILS BULLETIN 79 by Francis Shaxson and Richard Barber: A detailed publication about hydrology, and agricultural practices for minimizing water stress through a variety of techniques. Highly Recommended. 3) The Mitigation of Drought Stress By Dr. Abraham Blum (PlantStress.com): A large collection of articles and useful information on crop management and drought resistance. Recommended. 4) The Farm Business Gym page about dealing-with-drought, and ways you might prepare for one: Covers the ‘two types’ of drought; the four phases of drought; steps you can take to manage drought; and the emotional effects of drought. 5) Dealing with Drought: By Lynn Jensen & Clint (Oregon State University Extension, Malheur Experiment Station): Suggestions for using irrigation resources efficiently, and stretching their effectiveness in times of drought. 6) Dealing with Drought (From N.C. State University): From the mountains to the coast, N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences scientists and educators are working to help North Carolinians cope with the drought. Read more about the College's Drought Response (PDF)or browse this page to find helpful tips for homes and gardens. 7) Angus Journal's "Dealing With Drought" Web Site: Lack of rain and little subsoil moisture is a problem for cattle producers in some areas across the country. This site was developed to help cattle producers with ideas for how to handle it. 8) Water Harvesting and Soil Moisture Retention (SatNet): The water harvesting techniques described are particularly useful in arid and semi-arid areas, but the techniques described for soil moisture conservation are also of use in sub-humid regions. 9) Drought Mitigation (From San Diego State University): Describes the components of a drought preparedness and mitigation plan: Prediction, Monitoring, Impact Assessment, and Response. Part of a larger series on Drought Facts. 10) Drought Resistant Soils: Paper Abstracts from an FAO Conference: Summary of research on Causes and Consequences of Soil Moisture Scarcity; Creating Drought Resistant Soil; and Improved Soil Moisture Management.