‘Dust Bowl’ Returns Due to Extreme Drought Conditions
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Ranchers manage the forces of mother nature every day, but recent extreme drought conditions are posing new challenges to anyone working with land management on ranches in the “Dust Bowl” states of the Midwest and Southwest. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of Texas covered by extreme drought have tripled to 40 percent in recent months. Officials say it’s a similar situation in Oklahoma where the four months following Thanksgiving were the driest since 1921. Holistic Management International (HMI), an Albuquerque-based non-profit organization created to improve the health, productivity, and profitability of land, educates ranchers on how to best manage their land during these conditions.
According to HMI, the following tips can help ranchers best manage their land during extreme drought conditions.
Use Planned Grazing to Manage Livestock and Forage
Ranchers need to control livestock so they more effectively utilize all available forage in a pasture and still have forage reserves in other pastures. This means making sure animals are in the right place at the right time. By the use of temporary fencing and mob grazing techniques, livestock can get sufficient forage selection without overgrazing in one particular area. Ranchers can even herd livestock around the perimeter of an area to create a defensible space around buildings to reduce the fuel load in case of fires. These techniques will put ranchers in a better position to recover when the rains finally do come.
Ranchers should consider decreasing the numbers of livestock so that it is in line with the amount of forage currently available. During drought conditions, ranchers can maximize the effective use of precipitation by having enough residual forage to capture and utilize limited precipitation and reduce evaporative loss.
“When land is under Holistic ManagementÃ‚®, ranchers can better manage the relationships between land, grazing animals, and water in ways that mimic nature and will help sustain the land until the rain returns,” said Peter Holter, chief executive officer for Holistic Management International. For more information on how ranchers can best manage extreme drought conditions log onto www.holisticmanagement.org
SOURCE Holistic Management International