Surviving The Summer Drought On Your Farm

Drought season always seems to be just around the corner, and the parts of the year that aren’t dry are spent making up for those that are. Surviving drought season on your farm isn’t simple, but there are things you can do to conserve water and manage your farm successfully during these adverse conditions. Read a few of these tips and implement some solutions to drought season.

Testing your water

The quality of water affects everything you do. Water from different sources can vary substantially in quality and will have an impact on livestock health, soil quality and plant growth. Quality depends on weather conditions and careful monthly monitoring should give you a comprehensive overview of what you are working with and what needs to change.

Different water for different stock

Water salinity refers to all minerals and salts present. High salinity makes water unsuitable for most uses, but knowing what stock can handle what salinity can help you to make informed decisions. Salinity is measured in uS/cm and each type of livestock has two numbers, one where salinity causes initial production decline and a maximum salt concentration that may be safe for limited periods.

Production decline begins: 3,100 uS/cm
Maximum: 6,250 uS/cm

Production decline begins: 3,100 uS/cm
Maximum: 6,250 uS/cm

Production decline begins: 6,250 uS/cm
Maximum: 10,900 uS/cm

Dairy Cattle
Production decline begins: 4,700 uS/cm
Maximum: 9,300 uS/cm

Beef Cattle
Production decline begins: 6,250 uS/cm
Maximum: 15,600 uS/cm

Dry Feed Sheep
Production decline begins: 9,300 uS/cm
Maximum: 21,800 uS/cm

By testing regularly you can see what different water stocks are safe for.

Use bigger pipes

Simply doubling pipe diameter will allow you to increase the flow rate around your farm four times. You can transport water far more efficiently and get water where it’s needed faster.

Flush water troughs frequently

Evaporation in troughs will lead to a buildup of salts and an increase in water salinity. Flush out your water troughs more frequently to reduce this build up and create safer supplies for stock.

Consolidate small dams

If you have a number of shallow dams, consider pumping them into one bigger one to reduce the amount of loss from evaporation. Evaporation losses can be quite high over a summer; it pays to anticipate these and plan ahead.

Survive the summer with a few of these tips and by understanding the importance of water quality. The right tools and a fair amount of planning will see you right through any drought.

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